Worldwide blood banks face the difficult task of balancing the duties of assuring blood quality supply and preventing blood donors coming of harm. The huge shortfall in blood supplies in developing countries require blood banks not only to ensure efficiency in operation, but also safety to the donor and outstanding reliability in the methods and processes applied. Only by constant and consistent effort of updating the standards of blood transfusion services and ensuring regulatory requirements are met, the primary mission - improving the safety of recipient and donor - can be achieved.
Quality and quantitative results for donor safety
Predonation hemoglobin screening is of critical importance to meet these objectives. Continuous effort should be made to assess performance of the screening test used at the center and to ensure that a fast, accurate and reliable method for screening donors is applied. Choosing the ideal method is therefore crucial for the results and donor safety.
The CuSO4 method questioned
The two most commonly used methods for predonation hemoglobin screening are copper sulphate (CuSO4) and the HemoCue Hemoglobin Systems. The CuSO4 method is however associated with some disadvantages, e.g. lack of quantitative results, lack of quality control, subjective endpoints, problems with disposable of biohazardous solutions, and erroneous results in individuals with very high serum protein concentrations.
Choosing the ideal point-of-care testing (POCT) solution
The ideal POCT solution is portable, produce rapid results, does not require technically skilled operators, use only minimal controls and calibration and is highly accurate. To avoid unnecessary deferrals, the method should be sensitive enough to discriminate between donors whose Hb is lower than the cut-off level and those who are eligible.