Blood irradiation: Do not assume, verify!

Last updated: 12th January, 2023

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Onpoint make innovative solutions for blood banks and transfusion medicine worldwide!

OnPoint is a manufacturer of worldwide leading blood bag indicator technology including indicator labels for blood irradiation and red cell blood bag temperature monitoring. The purpose of blood irradiation is to prevent the Transfusion-associated Graft-versus-Host Disease (TA-GvHD)—a possible complication of blood transfusion which occurs when viable donor T cells proliferate and engraft in immunodeficient patients after transfusion.

One blood bag, one label!

There are three important points to remember:

  1. It is vitally important to use one indicator per blood bag. This is the only proof that the specific blood product was actually inside the irradiator and was exposed to the irradiation.
  2. A blood irradiation indicator may never be used as a dosimeter. Its only purpose is to verify blood irradiation, not the functionality of the irradiator.
  3. The correct way of verifying blood irradiation is to not to only check the machine but the blood product itself by using one irradiation indicator label on each blood bag!

Blood irradiation indicators are the only verification tools to prove this process. These labels are affixed on each individual blood bag when preparing for irradiation.

The Council of Europe’s EDQM Guide (2020) to the preparation, use and quality assurance of blood components states that “Radiation indicators must be used as a tool for differentiating irradiated from non-irradiated blood and blood components.”

The ISBT also confirms this recommended protocol by stating: “Radiation sensitive labels are commercially available and if attached to a unit being irradiated will indicate, by change of colour, that the process has been successfully completed.”

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