Bedside Monitoring of Transfusion

Once the blood component has left the hospital blood bank, it should be directed transported to the patient’s bedside for immediate transfusion.

At the bedside, the transfusionist (usually a nurse or doctor) must verify the information on the blood component labels (both the ISBT and specific reservation one for the patient).  With a bedside device, this includes:

  1. Scan the patient armband for hospital number
  2. Scan ISBT label:
    1. ABO/D type and any other antigen typings
    2. Blood component type (RBCs, platelets, plasma, etc.)
    3. Expiration date/time of the component
  3. Verify Reservation Label (on back of unit)— centrally performed in blood bank computer system based on #1 and #2 above:
    1. Intended recipient name and hospital number
    2. Compatibility status (compatible, least-incompatible, etc.)
    3. Expiration date/time of the compatibility testing/crossmatch
  4. Record Documentation During Transfusion:
    1. Physical inspection of the unit
    2. Time stamp of transfusion start
    3. Vital signs before starting transfusion
    4. Periodic vital signs during transfusion
    5. Time stamp of stopping transfusion
    6. Any adverse effects during the transfusion
    7. Any adverse effects after the transfusion (remote vital signs, oxygen saturation, EKG lead—if appropriate monitoring device attached to patient (e.g. Umana T1 device).

All of these parameters can be entered into a hand-held device that transmits them to the blood bank computer system (e.g. Medinfo Hemotrace.)

The Blood bank computer system (patient module) should verify that this is the proper unit for the intended recipient and that the transfusion is starting within the reservation limit of the unit and serves to verify the information on the reservation label attached on the back of the blood unit.

With a device such as  the new Umana T1 device from the GPI group, the vital signs together with an EKG lead and oxygen saturation can be automatically uploaded into the handheld device that feeds into the blood bank computer system such as Medinfo Hematos IIG and/or directly transmitted to the blood bank software.  This device can continuously record this information for several days and detect post-transfusion adverse effects such as TRALI/TACO and delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions.


Some other nursing hand-held devices are available for recording patient data but many cannot read the ISBT unit number or descriptor information.  They also do not check with the blood bank computer system to check if the right unit of blood is being offered to the patient during the validity of the transfusion period (four hours after leaving the blood bank).