Ensuring safety and efficacy; improving utilization
Washing red blood cells before transfusion generates safer products for vulnerable patients by removing most metabolites and proteins that accumulate in the bag during storage. These metabolites can harm certain patient groups (e.g. neonates, who are more sensitive due to their small size). Until recently, Canadian Blood Services used an “open” washing system which meant products were exposed to the environment and had to be used within 24 hours. This time restriction resulted in some products being discarded before they could be used.