Donation testing

The laboratories at Lifeblood perform a range of tests on all donations to:

  • allow appropriate selection of blood for transfusion e.g. to ensure ABO compatibility between donor and recipient
  • identify donors whose donations aren’t suitable for transfusion e.g. donors who carry transfusion-transmissible infections, and 
  • minimise or prevent adverse consequences of transfusion.

Mandatory testing of fresh blood components for transfusion are:

  • ABO and RhD blood groups
  • red cell antibody screening
  • syphilis serology
  • viral screening for: 
    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 1 and 2 antibodies and HIV 1 RNA
    • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) surface antigen and HBV DNA
    • Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antibodies and HCV RNA

All apheresis platelet collections and buffy coat derived pooled platelets are sampled for bacterial contamination screening at or after 36 hours post collection.

When required, additional donation testing is performed, including confirmatory testing, and screening for antibodies to CMV, human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) and malaria.

Lifeblood has strict guidelines and standard operating procedures for these tests which are all performed in TGA licensed facilities accredited for good laboratory and manufacturing practices.

Test results are always checked before blood components are released for clinical use or further manufacture.

If a screening test for infectious disease is confirmed reactive, and the donation is destroyed, and donor is notified and counselled as part of standard Lifeblood procedures.

Components are only labelled for release when:

  • donor selection criteria have been met
  • mandatory viral screening is non-reactive
  • blood grouping results have been confirmed
  • red cell antibody screening is complete, and
  • product quality is acceptable as per defined component specifications.

Explore this topic further

Bacterial contamination

Bacterial sepsis is second only to ABO incompatibility as a cause of death from transfusion. Bacterial contamination of platelets is recognised as the most significant residual infectious risk of transfusion in developed countries.

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