Few resources in medicine exceed the importance of donated blood, and storing this vital supply in the short term is as important as freezing it for the long term, though the two are vastly different. Blood bank refrigerators keep blood and plasma at temperatures between 2 °C and 6 °C, so that they are constantly prepared for emergency transfusions. Blood bank refrigerators utilize stringent security measures to prevent tampering.
Some blood bank refrigerators will also feature robust temperature controls and event alarms. A portable blood bank refrigerator is capable of maintaining blood or vaccines at low temperatures for a few days on battery alone. The customer should always seek a blood bank refrigerator that meets the European Medical Device requirements.
Quality blood bank storage is a life-saving measure designed to protect you. The Blood Bank Refrigerator serves as the main storage facility for all refrigerated blood products received in the blood-bank; they are designed for the precise requirements of blood banking and processing applications. Blood Bank Refrigerators feature alarm systems that alert you of critical power failures or temperature deviations and chart recorders (or modern recording technology) track conditions for permanent records.
An audible alarm on the refrigerator will be activated within seconds of an over or under temperature shift, allowing enough time for proper action before stored units reach out-of-range temperatures.
Blood is a depreciating commodity (with Blood Donation being at dangerous levels particularly over the Christmas period) and its importance is understated in this cost-cutting climate. Current UK guidelines assign donated blood a shelf life of 35 days at 2-6°C and stocks of blood in the UK for transfusion rarely exceed enough for one week.
Common sense dictates that Blood Bank Refrigerators should possess dual refrigeration systems as a sensible back-up solution wherever possible yet large single compressor systems are still being offered to users by some Manufacturers. Isn’t this just false economy? It isn’t as though Hospitals receive blood donations for free as they are charged around £125 per donation from the Transfusion Service.
Author: Andrew Mallaband FIBMS – Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer.