Donated red blood cell units are a vital component of patient care, supporting patients with a wide variety of disorders. However, not all blood units are the same, and the benefit they can deliver to a patient can vary from unit to unit. Read on to learn about a unique device developed in a research laboratory at the Centre for Blood Research that can sort stored red blood cells based on their “squeezability”. This reflects how well red blood cells can squeeze their way through the circulation after a transfusion and could help identify “super-storers”.
“There’s nothing I wouldn’t have done, knowing full well it was something only we could do. At the end of the day, Canadian Blood Services got this done. A child has been treated because we were adamant we were going to provide a solution."
For patients who have cardiac surgery, the risk of severe blood loss is high if they have a condition called acquired hypofibrinogenemia — this means they have an undersupply of an essential blood clotting protein called fibrinogen. Doctors aim to minimize their bleeding with a fibrinogen replacement product, either cryoprecipitate or fibrinogen concentrate, to restore clotting factors to normal levels. A recent study that compared both products could have an impact on how cardiac patients are treated in Canada.
“There is absolutely no evidence of transfusion transmission for COVID-19, or any other coronavirus,” says Dr. Steven Drews, associate director of microbiology at Canadian Blood Services.