Introduction: Apart from the visual assessment, measurement of plasma hemoglobin in the supernatant from red cell units provides an objective measure of the extent of hemolysis during storage.
Study design and methods: Packed red cells (N=50), 25 units each in triple (CPD-A1 and SAGM) and quadruple (CPD-A1 and ADSOL) blood bags were evaluated for plasma hemoglobin by the tetramethylbenzidiene (TMB) method on day 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 of collection. The hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV, LDH and potassium levels were also noted. Whole blood units (N=25) were used as controls.
Results: Hemolysis increased in all the stored red cell units. Plasma hemoglobin increased significantly in the first week of storage. The hemolysis, LDH and potassium levels were found to be significantly higher in the red cell units harvested from the triple blood bags. However, on day 28 of storage, free hemoglobin in all the red cell units was much below the 0.8% hemolysis.
Conclusion: Hemolysis of the red cells increases due to processing and during storage and is maximum during the first week. Adequate process control and proper storage facilities should be ensured to minimize the hemolysis of red cells during processing and storage.
Keywords: Component separation; red blood cell hemolysis; storage.