Is blood transfusion possible only after the temperature of blood thaws to room temperature?

Blood transfusion is possible without thawing blood to room temperature. After taking a blood bag out of the refrigerator, it is mandatory to transfuse the blood within 30 minutes. A blood bag monitoring system can track the duration a blood bag is out of a temperature-controlled environment. Clinical transfusion guidelines approved by WHO states that administering cold blood at slow rates does not affect the patient adversely. Hence, it is not mandatory to warm the blood. However, we must thaw blood to room temperature for

  • exchange transfusion in infants
  • patients with clinically significant agglutinins
  • large volume rapid transfusion – flow rate more than 50ml/kg/hr for adults and above 15ml/kg/hr for children.

We must use only blood warmers for warming blood. Using hot water to warm cold blood will lead to hemolysis of RBC that is life-threatening upon transfusion.

Once we take out a blood bag from a temperature-controlled storage environment, we must transfuse it or return it within 30 minutes. If the blood bag is let out at room temperature for more than 30 minutes, the chance of bacteria contamination in the blood is more. The blood bank information system by Bagmo assists the staff at the blood bank to track the temperature and quality of individual blood bags. The blood bag monitoring system alerts the staff if a blood bag is out of a BBR for 30 minutes or more. Hence, ensuring safe blood and reducing wastage.

  1. World Health Organization. (2020). Clinical transfusion practice: guidelines for medical interns. Available at:https://www.who.nt/bloodsafety/transfusion_services/ClinicalTransfusionPracticeGuidelinesforMedicalInternsBangladesh. pdf. Accessed July, 2.
  2. Brunskill, S., Thomas, S., Whitmore, E., McDonald, C. P., Dorée, C., Hopewell, S., … & Murphy, M. F. (2012). What is the maximum time that a unit of red blood cells can be safely left out of controlled temperature storage?. Transfusion medicine reviews, 26(3), 209-223.

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