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Protecting Platelets During Supply and Demand Challenges

Posted on Oct 14, 2021 by Colleen Holtkamp

A person putting product into a platelet storage system

Platelets have a limited shelf life, which means inventory management has been a long-standing challenge. More recent developments are exacerbating the situation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for platelets has remained relatively constant or, in some cases, increased while supply has fluctuated.

In addition, the blood bank community has been implementing guidance for reducing the risk of bacterial contamination that is designed to enhance safety. Some risk mitigation measures call for larger samples and additional culture bottles, potentially impacting the platelet supply and elevating concerns about shortages.

Good stewardship of the blood supply continues to increase in importance, with an emphasis on conserving blood products and the adoption of evidence-based approaches to transfusion. Strong partnerships and collaboration between blood centers and hospitals are needed for effective planning. Flexibility in the type of platelets a hospital will accept can also help with the management of this scarce resource.

Platelet products must be stored within a tight temperature range and with continuous gentle agitation to maintain viability and regulatory compliance. Reliable platelet storage is essential to blood centers and hospital transfusion services. These systems are critical for safeguarding life-saving platelet products and users must be able to depend on them to meet requirements.

When selecting a new platelet storage system, it may be helpful to have a resource that defines what is important in the design of this type of equipment. What is it about an agitator or incubator that helps a facility meet AABB standards? Are there any other considerations when selecting platelet storage equipment?

For this reason, Helmer has developed a best practices guide, which outlines the specific AABB standards that define the characteristics of incubators and agitators and provides additional considerations for best practices. It clarifies how the design of a platelet storage system can help blood centers and hospitals comply with regulatory guidance and facilitate best practices in an easy-to-use checklist format.

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Helmer Scientific supports blood centers and hospitals, the patients they serve, and their efforts to keep the blood supply safe. We would like to express our gratitude to all staff involved in collecting, processing, and transfusing blood therapies to treat patients and save lives. We are here to help you properly store and monitor your blood products.

Our guide, which is available online, provides helpful guidance on what to consider when choosing platelet storage equipment for your facility.

Download the Guide »

Colleen Holtkamp

Written by Colleen Holtkamp

Helmer designs, manufactures, and markets specialized medical and laboratory equipment to customers in more than 125 countries. With an extensive background in Helmer products, Colleen’s focus is on the Clinical Laboratory and Blood Bank segments.

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