Transfusion of a blood product contaminated by bacteria can be lethal. Prevention of contamination requires careful attention to blood product collection, processing and transfusion.


Blood product collection:

(1) Screen donors for fever and recent antibiotic usage

(2) Use noncontaminated donor bags and solutions.

(3) Clean skin properly.

(4) Proper insertion of the needle.

(5) Proper collection technique and sealing of the unit.


Blood product processing and handling:

(1) Adherence to storage period guidelines.

(2) Proper storage temperature.

(3) Maintain a closed system.

(4) Protect ports from bacteria, especially in water baths.

(5) Sterile access when pooling or splitting the product, with proper storage and release.

(6) Damaged or leaking bags are disposed of according to guidelines.


Blood product transfusion:

(1) Inspect prior to release (see below).

(2) Starting and completing the transfusion within time limits after release from the blood bank.

(3) Monitor the patient for signs of fever or sepsis during and after the transfusion.


Inspection prior to release:

(1) Change in color (can use segment for comparison).

(2) Hemolysis

(3) Clot formation

(4) Gas formation

(5) Discoloration of plasma.


Platelet and cryoprecipitate pools are at particular risk since:

(1) The units are opened for pooling.

(2) The units are maintained at room temperature.

(3) Cryoprecipitate is usually thawed in a water bath.


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