Use of OHAUS Reciprocating Shakers in Blood Processing

Blood is an essential part of life that's responsible for delivering O2 and nutrients to cells. Blood donation has become increasingly popular, and has received much attention and concern from various governments in the world recently. 

Organizations such as the World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, International Red Crescent Society and International Society of Blood Transfusion highly value blood donation as an act of human benevolence.

Blood storage is a critical issue for a Blood Bank. Due to the specific nature of blood, processing results are directly affected by the preliminary steps taken during blood processing. We approached a Blood Bank in South-West China that recently switched to OHAUS Reciprocating Shakers to explore the processing techniques involved in the proper processing of blood.
Typically, blood is stored in a Blood Bank under the custody
of medical units or Blood Banks to be used for blood transfusions. Proper storage methods to ensure the quality of blood are highly important. When extracted from the body, blood will naturally clot at room temperature within a certain duration of time. Therefore, in order to store for long periods, blood must be processed.
The Blood Bank that we visited is mainly involved in the management of blood processing in the region to provide blood for clinical and emergency applications. The station is also responsible for monitoring the quality of blood supply, carrying out scientific research on blood transfusion, and providing education on blood collection procedures.

The blood processing system is comprised of many sections. The Components section of the system used by the Blood Bank is mainly involved in the preparation of various blood components, and the most common stage is the storage of platelets. In order to prevent platelets in plasma samples from clotting, it is necessary to add an anticoagulant agent called Dimethyl Sulfoxide, and mix it evenly inside a reciprocating shaker within a regular time period at a fixed speed (usually for 5 minutes at a speed of 100 rpm.) After mixing, the platelets are stored in a refrigerator. The maximum storage period is one year. The stored platelets should be used within the maximum storage period of one year to ensure that the sample is fresh.

Oscillating mixing equipment is used in the Blood Bank's laboratory to prepare Glycerinated Red Blood Cells. Sometimes, a reciprocating shaker is required for this process. Glycerinated red blood cells are the predecessor of Frozen Red Blood Cells, and therefore the preparation of glycerinated red blood cells is a key preliminary part of the frozen red blood cell preparation process.

Glycerol is currently the most commonly used cryoprotectant for cryopreservation of human erythrocytes. It plays an important role in reducing the damage to erythrocytes after the freezing process. The main function of glycerol is to ensure the balance of osmotic pressure inside and outside the erythrocytes, and to prevent hemolysis of erythrocytes. Most Blood Banks in China prepare frozen red blood cells using the Low Temperature Slow Freezing Method. When using this method, the final concentration of glycerin preservation solution after being mixed with erythrocytes is 40%, and is stored in an environment below -65 °C for a period of ten years.*

When mixing blood and an anticoagulant, it is essential that the sample is mixed evenly and continuously at a consistent rotation speed. The Blood Bank found that the previous mixing method that they used was ineffective since it did not guarantee stability and controllability, and caused clotting of samples.

The Blood Bank then turned to OHAUS Digital Reciprocating Shakers. Since then, they have successfully  managed to achieve accuracy and repeatability with consistent, uniform shaking of blood samples during the mixing process, thanks to the OHAUS shaker's microprocessor controller and load sensor.

The microprocessor's slow speed ramp-up design raises the speed slowly and safely to the target setting to prevent spillage of open samples, and is capable of displaying the last setpoint that can be restarted after power-off. The load sensor has the sensitivity to detect imbalances, and automatically reduces speed to protect samples. The entire process has greatly enhanced the Blood Bank's automation of lab equipment - reducing the need for manual operations, and saving cost.

The OHAUS Reciprocating Shaker Features

In addition to the microprocessor and load sensor, the OHAUS Reciprocating Shaker has other intelligent and convenient features which make it ideal for use by the Blood Bank:

Single Eccentric Drive
Permanently lubricated ball bearings and maintenance-free brushless DC motor that ensures reliable and continuous-duty operation.

Smart LED Displays
Touchpad controls with independent LEDs for speed/time which allow the operator to view all settings at once. The timer can be used to program the elapsed time to a user-defined limit. When the time reaches zero, the device shuts down automatically.

Operational Conditions Adaptable to Extreme Environments
The equipment can be operated in a freezer, incubator or non-condensable Carbon Dioxide environment at -10 to 60 °C and up to 80% humidity.

Convenient Data Communication
The OHAUS Reciprocating Shaker is equipped with a RS-232 interface for bi-directional communication for data recording and device control.

The Blood Bank's staffs had only good things to say about their experience with OHAUS shakers: "Compared to other brands of shakers that we used before, the US-made OHAUS Reciprocating Shaker is powerful, easy-to-operate, and provides stability and controllability that we can depend on. Most importantly, we have noticed that the quality of mixed blood samples are uniform when we use the OHAUS Shaker. Coagulation has never occurred, which in turn has greatly enhanced the efficiency of blood processing in our facility. It is definitely a superior product which is also cost-effective. We plan on introducing OHAUS lab equipment to other sections of our blood processing system."

*References: Li Yancheng. Crucial operation steps affecting the quality in preparation of “Glycerinated red blood cells” [J].Clinical Medicine of China, 2015, December.