by Laurie J. Sutor, MD, MBA
A new version of the AABB Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services is scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2020. The draft version has been circulated for member comments this summer. The following article summarizes what I think are the most important changes for hospital blood banks. The wording is my own for simplification sake. I am not including every change in this summary.
1. The medical director is now specifically required to have continuing education in activities related to blood banking.
2. The disaster plan shall now address business continuity plans.
3. The blood bank/transfusion service (BB/TS) shall have a policy to address product inventory shortages.
4. Facilities must have measures in place to minimize the risks of data breaches (cyber security issues).
5. Zika virus testing was added in the pertinent donor testing sections.
6. Rh negative RBCs should be issued to females of child bearing potential if an Rh testing discrepancy is found, until
resolution of the testing problem.
7. If a single sample is to be used for retyping the patient in determining ABO type prior to transfusion, the validated
electronic identification system should be FDA approved (or something similar outside the USA).
8. The blood bank computer system used for electronic cross match must be FDA 510(k) cleared.
9. The BB/TS must have a policy for the use of washed cellular products
10. The BB/TS must have a policy for the use of specially selected platelet products including cold stored platelets.
11. There must be final visual inspection of a unit prior to issue.
12. For outpatient transfusions, recipients must be given emergency contact info for reaction reporting.
13. An emphasis was added to utilization review for group O blood and AB plasma.
14. Some safety standards for liquid nitrogen were added, including oxygen alarms.
Of note, there are two new standards relating to donor iron mitigation which will affect the blood donor center and potentially the blood supply.
The final version of AABB Standards has not been published yet, so it is possible that some of these proposed standards will be changed or dropped following a review of comments by the Standards Committee. Stay tuned!