Note: Responses reflect Canadian standards, which vary from location to location.
Question 1: At what temperature should the following components be transported?
- RBC - 2°C to 10°C
- Platelets - 20°C to 24°C
- Fresh frozen plasma and cryosupernatant plasma - at a temperature that will keep them frozen
Question 2: Describe how RBC should be packed for shipping.
- RBC (and other blood components) should be shipped in validated containers.
- Packaging should have a tamper proof seal.
- To prevent hemolysis, a barrier (e.g., cardboard) must separate RBC and ice or gel packs.
- Temperature monitors should be included, with regular temperature monitoring.
Question 3: What are the possible consequences of transfusing RBC that are hemolysing?
Hemolysed RBC can trigger an immediate life-threatening hemolytic transfusion reaction.
Question 4: At what steps should blood be examined visually in the transfusion service?
Steps requiring inspection include:
- upon receipt of the product by the transfusion service
- before the product is issued for transfusion from the transfusion service
- before the product is shipped to another facility
- when the product is returned from another location within the hospital
- Note: Blood must also be inspected at the bedside immediately prior to transfusion.
Question 5: Provide 5 criteria for examining blood visually.
Criteria include examining that:
- the component is in-date with an expiry date label present
- at least one port is intact
- the “Suitable for issue” sticker is present on the original bag label
- For RBC, checking that:
- the red cell mass is not discoloured (e.g., purple or black)
- there are no observable clots
- the colour of the red cells in the unit is the same as red cells in the segments
- if visible, the plasma/supernatant is not discoloured (e.g., cloudy, bright yellow, reddish)
- For plasma, checking that:
- the plasma is not discoloured (e.g., cloudy, bright yellow, reddish)
- if frozen, the bag has no signs of breakage
Question 6: How does a quality system deal with human errors?
With a quality system, the aim is to discover why the system or process failed, not to assign blame to an individual.