Blood Supply Safety

Blood supply safety can be assured when individual units of blood are monitored by the new ShockWatch Blood Temp indicator. Monitoring individual units of blood for temperature excursions helps hospitals and blood banks reduce costs and liability by identifying units that have experienced temperature excursions before they are used, and by enabling caregivers to discard only units that actually exceeded acceptable temperatures. Additionally, caregivers can know at a glance – and prove – whether blood has been stored at the proper temperature.

Refrigerated blood products typically have a short shelf life, ranging from 24 hours for granulocytes to 42 days for red blood cells. After collection, blood products usually go to a lab for analysis and possible separation before being sent to a blood bank or hospital storage facility, where units may be removed from refrigeration and returned multiple times, depending upon patient needs.

Each year, gaps in the cold chain and poor management practices result in the loss of approximately two percent of all the blood collected. This loss can be reduced, however, by robust temperature management practices. The ShockWatch Blood Temp indicator is small enough – and inexpensive enough – to be placed on the outside of each blood bag to monitor the temperature of each unit of blood.

Using the ShockWatch Blood Temp indicator is simple. To arm it, squeeze the blister on the indicator. The indicator changes from “standby” yellow to “armed” green. If the blood bag core temperature reaches 10°C, the indicator window turns blue.

“Like all members of the WarmMark®2 temperature indicator family, the ShockWatch Blood Temp clearly indicates whether safe temperatures have been maintained,” said Angela Kerr, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, Shockwatch US. “With that knowledge, caregivers know whether excess units of blood may be returned to storage or whether they must be discarded. ShockWatch Blood Temp indicators are irreversible and tamperproof, and accurate to plus or minus 1°C. Therefore, caregivers and blood bank personnel can trust the results.”

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