PINEHURST – The Blood Bank at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, which supplies about 560 units of packed red blood cells, 55 units of plasma and 20 units of single-donor platelets for patients each month, has been re-accredited by the AABB.
Established in1947, the international, not-for-profit AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) is dedicated to the practice of transfusion medicine and related biological therapies. Moore Regional’s program has been consistently accredited by the AABB for many years.
“AABB accreditation procedures are voluntary so Moore Regional sought this accreditation,” says William McDearmon, M.D. “We did so, because the AABB promotes a level of professional and technical expertise that contributes to especially high-quality performance and patient safety.”
A pathologist at Moore Regional, Dr. McDearmon is medical director of the blood banks at all four FirstHealth hospitals. All programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, but only Moore Regional’s program has the AABB accreditation.
AABB accreditation, which is considered the highest standard of quality for blood banks and transfusion services, follows an intensive on-site assessment by specially trained assessors. Attaining accreditation acknowledges that a facility’s level of technical and administrative performance meets or exceeds AABB standards.
During an AABB survey, a facility’s quality and operational systems are assessed.
The Blood Bank at Moore Regional Hospital is technically a transfusion service, because it supplies but does not collect blood products. Collection is done by the American Red Cross during regularly scheduled hospital bloodmobile visits.
According to certified medical technologist Amelia Kirkland, MT(ASCP), assistant director MRH Blood Bank, red blood cells deliver oxygen to tissues, plasma carries factors necessary for clotting and platelets are the first cells to rush to the site of injury to create a plug. Each can be stored for a certain amount of time.
“Red cells are kept in a refrigerated state and are viable for about 45 days,” Kirkland says. “Plasma is separated from the whole blood product soon after donation and is frozen. It is good for one year after freezing. When we need to transfuse it, we thaw it and it is good for 24 hours after thawing.”
Platelets are collected and stored differently. “Platelets are the most interesting little cells,” says Kirkland says. “They are not separated from a whole blood unit, but the donor sits in a chair and is connected to an ‘apheresis’ machine. Whole blood is taken out, the platelets are separated, and the rest is put back (in the donor). Platelets are good for only five days after collection, and they are maintained at room temperature on a rotator that keeps them in constant motion so they don’t spontaneously clump.”
Recognized by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), the AABB program accredits donor centers, transfusion services, cellular therapy, immunohematology reference labs, perioperative services, relationship/parentage testing and molecular testing for red cell, platelet and neutrophil antigens.