Protecting the Blood Supply
Testing donated blood
Blood donations are tested in order to:
- Allow appropriate selection of blood for transfusion. For example, to permit ABO compatibility between donor and recipient
- Minimise or prevent (where possible) adverse consequences of transfusion. For example, to minimise the risk of transmission of infections which can cause disease in transfusion recipients
- Identify donors whose donations are not suitable for transfusion- for example, donors found to carry transfusion-transmissible infections must be notified and counselled.
In Australia, all donations are tested for:
- ABO and Rh(D) blood groups
- Red cell antibodies
- HIV 1/2
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- HTLV I/II
Testing and checking results occurs before blood components are released for clinical use or further manufacture. If any of the mandatory infectious disease screening tests is confirmed reactive, the donation is destroyed. Only donations that have satisfactory results for the above tests and meet other defined specifications are released for transfusion.
All tests are performed in licensed facilities, according to the principles of good laboratory and manufacturing practice (GLP/GMP), the manufacturer's instructions and strict Blood Service guidelines and standard operating procedures.
Storing Blood safely
Proper storage of whole blood and blood components is essential.
- Red blood cells must be stored under refrigeration (between 2°C and 6°C) and can be kept for a maximum of 42 days. In special circumstances eg. rare blood types, or for special patients red blood cells may be stored frozen for up to 10 years
- Platelets can be stored at room temperature (between 20°C and 24°C) for a maximum of 5 days
- Fresh frozen plasma can be kept frozen(at -30°C or below) for up to 1 year
- Cryoprecipitate, made from fresh frozen plasma, can be stored frozen (at -30°C or below) for up to 1 year