Bacterial contamination of blood products at the Croatian Institute of Transfusion Medicine: results of eleven-year monitoring

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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of this study is to present the results and experiences of the Croatian Institute of Transfusion Medicine (CITM) in blood product testing for the presence of bacterial contamination. This is the first study analysing the results of bacterial testing of blood products in Croatia.

Methods:

Results of monitoring blood products for the presence of bacterial contamination during an 11-year period (2000–2010) were retrospectively analysed. As universal screening of platelet concentrates for bacterial contamination is not mandatory in Croatia, the results presented refer to the products tested within the frame of statistical process control.

Results:

A total of 23 130 blood products were tested during the study period. There were 122 (0·53%) initially positive and 41 (0·18%) confirmed positive blood products, whereas suspicion of bacterial contamination could be neither confirmed nor ruled out in 8 (0·03%) blood products. While the frequency of bacterial contamination of plasma products was very low (0·03%), there was no statistically significant difference between bacterial contamination of platelet concentrates (0·26%) and RBC concentrates (0·20%). There were 73 (0·32%) false-positive blood products, with nearly equal proportion of causes related to laboratory contamination (n = 34; 0·15%) and those related to the testing system (n = 39; 0·17%).

Conclusion:

The results obtained in the study did not differ significantly from literature data. A number of measures to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination of blood products have been implemented at CITM. The introduction of universal screening of platelet concentrates for the presence of bacterial contamination should be taken into consideration.

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