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Vox Sang. 2019 Apr;114(3):189-197. doi: 10.1111/vox.12747. Epub 2019 Mar 4.

Extending the 30-minute rule for red cell units - investigation of the bacterial risk of 60-minute exposures to ambient temperature.

Author information

1
National Bacteriology Laboratory, NHS Blood and Transplant, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

In the UK, a significant proportion of red cell units is discarded due to the 30-min rule governing out of temperature control. Studies have shown that repeated warming to ambient temperature has little impact on red cell quality or bacterial growth. We aimed to validate extension of the rule to 60 minutes by investigation of repeated same, and different, day exposures on bacterial growth.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Red cell units were seeded individually at 100-1000 cfu/ml with Yersinia enterocolitica, Serratia liquefaciens, Pseudomonas putida, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterobacter cloacae and Bacillus cereus. Test units were exposed to 30°C for 30 or 60 min on a single occasion at days 15, 17 and 21, or thrice on day 15 of a 35-day storage period. A 10-fold increase in bacterial counts in tests versus controls maintained in cold storage was considered indicative of significant bacterial proliferation.

RESULTS:

Exposure of units to 30°C for up to 60 min had no substantial impact on the growth of bacteria and all mesophiles declined steadily in tests and controls. Only P. putida showed a near significant elevation in count on exposure for 60 min at day 35.

CONCLUSIONS:

Extension of the out of temperature rule for red cells to 60 min will potentially not compromise patient safety, although exposures to ambient temperatures should be minimized. Units returned to storage must not be reissued for at least 6 hours and not be exposed to ambient temperatures on more than three occasions.

KEYWORDS:

30-min rule; bacterial proliferation; red cell storage; transfusion

PMID:
30834556
DOI:
10.1111/vox.12747

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