The Safe Transportation of Temperature-Sensitive Blood Products, Part 1

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Blood products continue to increase in cost, and loss of product due to logistical issues, transportation equipment failure, or other transport difficulties can create not only financial problems, but also impact costs measured in human lives. However, using the appropriate cold chain solutions can help address many of the issues related to storage and transportation of blood products.

Concerned with the safety of such a valuable and scarce resource, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published several resources on the safe storage and transportation of blood products, calling it the Blood Cold Chain Project (World Health Organization, 2002). The Blood Cold Chain is defined as “…a systematic process for the safe storage and transportation of blood from its collection from the donor to its administration to a patient who requires transfusion” (World Health Organization, 2002, p. 5). This process can pose a challenge in many parts of the world, especially when healthcare professionals are working in rural areas or challenging climates.

Maintaining the blood cold chain is a global concern. In Vijayawada, India, an official with the Red Cross noted refrigeration issues (Red Cross Blood Bank, 2016). Similarly maintaining the blood cold chain has been an important concern noted in Africa (Dahourou, 2012). In Western Australia, complex packaging and transporting across rural areas among other issues have negatively impacted the viability of the current transportation scheme (Grey et al., 2015).

Remote areas around the globe must also battle similar issues ensuring the safe travel of blood products including maintaining and validating temperature control for the entire shipment. Attention to maintaining the blood cold chain through the use of appropriate products is not only reserved for these challenging environments, but also in day-to-day safe blood product handling.

The AcuTemp® PX Courier is a product that can play an important role in maintaining temperature-sensitive product during the final steps of the cold chain. In part II of this blog, we will report on a recent validation study that shows the effectiveness of the AcuTemp PX-3L courier used in Western Australia.

References

Dahourou, H. (2012). Cold chain management for blood safety. 6th AfSBT Congress Mauritius 2012.

Grey, D., Fong, E., Mendes, R., Gilhooley, G., Cardey, J., & Finlayson, J. (2015). Evaluation of a new transportation container for red cell units in Western Australia. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/voxs.12220/abstract ISBT Science Series, 10(2), 82-86

Red Cross blood center launches two schemes. (March 23, 2016). The Hansindia. Retrieved from: http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/category/2016-03-23/Red-Cross-Blood-Bank-launches-2-schemes/215708

World Health Organization. (2002). The blood cold chain: Guide to the selection and procurement of equipment and accessories. Geneva: Department of Blood Safety and Clinical Technology, World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/bloodsafety/testing_processing/components/en/BloodColdChain.pdf?ua=1

Click here for part 2 of the CSafe blog “The Safe Transportation of Blood Products”.

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