Post RhIG Use Without Antibody Identification

Rh immunoprophylaxis has big effect on the Transfusion Medicine operations.  With a very active obstetrics program, there are numerous prenatal blood bank workups and administrations of Rh immune globulin RhIG—and consequently many antibody identifications.  In fact at my previous position, the largest single source of antibody workups was from patients post-RhIG administration.

As a result of the antenatal RhIG use, there were numerous positive antibody screens.  Our policy had been to always do a full antibody identification, both AHG and enzyme panels, and this made up the bulk of our antibody testing.  In my experience, I have found other antibody specificities in some of these patients, including anti-Kell and anti-c, both of which could be very clinically significant.

As part of the workup, we also did ABO and extended Rh and Kell phenotyping, and thus identified rare Rh phenotypes (r’r’, -D-, etc.) and several Bombay phenotypes.

Unfortunately, I have been at institutions where they assumed a positive antibody screen in a patient with recent RhIG administration was passive anti-D and did NOT perform further testing.

If the patient needs blood and the antibody screen is positive, the antibody workup must be performed for routine release.  This means about a 20-30 minutes delay in release until the antibody panels are completed and reviewed.  Otherwise, blood can be released through an emergency protocol if the clinician accepts responsibility for incomplete testing at the time of release.

Many clinicians refused to do this emergency release and insisted on waiting for the antibody identification before accepting RBC components.  They would not take the responsibility for the emergency release.

If we had done the antibody workup in these RhIG patients, we would have identified the anti-D, and I as the transfusion medicine physician would then advise the clinician to accept emergency release of RBCs while we complete the antibody workup.

For this reason alone, I insisted on a full antibody workup for all RhIG patients RhIG who exhibit a positive antibody screen.  I would be comfortable in recommending emergency release if I had results of the previous antibody identification showing passive anti-D.  The delay in release could adversely affect the patient’s outcome if there is active bleeding.

In summary, if a patient has a positive antibody screen post RhIG administration, you should still do ABID to rule out other antibodies and facilitate release of RBCs to a bleeding patient.

Process: Donor Collection

Process:  Donor Collection

Zeyd Merenkov, MD, FCAP, FASCP

Independent Consultant in Transfusion Medicine



  1. Donors must pass and complete all previous processes in the donor workflow (registration, questionnaire, and physical examination) before the collection process begins.
  2. The donor is positively identified by a designated picture ID and Hematos donor consent form with specimen/encounter number and barcode.
  3. Donor staff checks and prepares a suitable vein
  4. Donor staff collects/labels specimens and the whole blood or apheresis components AT THE DONOR’S BEDSIDE.
  5. Donor reactions are assessed and treated as they occur.
  6. Donors are observed in a post-donation area and given post-donation instructions before discharge.
  7. All processes are documented in Hematos IIG.
  8. Donor units and specimens are sent to component processing and donor marker testing.
  9. The collection workstation and equipment are cleaned before starting a new donor collection.


  1. HMC 1001 Setting Specification, Version 1.5, Hematos IIG, Medinfo
  2. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services, Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Policy: Donor Collection



  1. All donors will be positively identified with a picture ID and by their Hematos identifiers (donor ID and session registration/specimen number).
  2. All previous processes (registration, donor deferral database check, questionnaire, and physical examination) must pass.
  3. The donor’s arm veins will be inspected for a suitable donation site and prepared by a suitable aseptic technique.
  4. Whole Blood:
    1. Only whole blood units collected within the specified time interval may be used for component processing.
  5. Apheresis:
    1. Apheresis units will be collected at frequencies to keep the total RBC loss below 200 in any 8-week period.
    2. Only apheresis units collected within the specified time interval may be used for component processing.
  6. Donors will be treated for adverse reactions as needed.
  7. All specimens and donor units will be labeled at the donor’s bedside before starting a new donor collection.
  8. Donors will be monitored post-donation for a reasonable interval before discharge.
  9. All processes will be documented in the Hematos blood bank computer system.
  10. All equipment and supplies will be used according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  11. The collection workstation and equipment will be cleaned before starting the next donor.
  12. All policies, processes, and procedures must comply with Qatari, HMC, and applicable accreditation standards (i.e. AABB, CAP, and JCI).


  1. HMC 1001 Setting Specification, Version 1.5, Hematos IIG, Medinfo
  2. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services, Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, October 2013

How I Select Technologist Candidates for Work or Promotion

As a transfusion medicine physician, I must know if I can trust my staff’s interpretation of immunohematology testing.  I may be called at night and they will provide me with results and I must use these to make a medical judgment.  If their interpretation is flawed, I might make a decision that harms the patient.

I really don’t like multiple-choice questions, but nowadays this is often the norm.  For my staff, especially senior staff and those who want to be promoted to senior staff, I have developed a series of projective exercises to help me understand their thought processes. I also used this approach on prospective candidates for hire.

Here is a sample exercise.  I have the candidate or staff review this panel and tell me to interpret it:

Most of them answer that this is an anti-Cw without hesitation.  However, they are basing that on only one Cw-positive cell.

More astute ones indicate it might be anti-Cw but ask to test additional Cw-positive cells and perform an enzyme panel.  These are the ones that I will consider for hire or promotion now.

Product Delivery in Medinfo 1

This is the start of a series of posts on how Medinfo blood bank software was designed for product delivery in the HMC system in Doha.

The overall process was:

  1. Transfer blood components (all types) from the Blood Donor using the Interdepot Transfer process (see that post for details) to the Hamad General Hospital HGH General Delivery Deposit.
  2. Release components to individual HMC system hospitals and client blood banks from the HGH General Delivery Deposit,.

It was also possible to release blood components directly from the Blood Donor Center to HMC hospital blood banks as a contingency.  Client hospitals outside the HMC system still had to obtain their components from HGH General Delivery Deposit.