Summary of Accomplishments at Hamad Medical Corporation 2011-2020

2011

Established automated component production using Atreus technology, plasma and platelet pathogen inactivation (Mirasol)—made HMC component production Good Manufacturing System GMP compliant

2011

Qatar is the first to adopt non-PCR-based NAT technology (Grifols/Novartis Tigress) and becomes world reference site for this

2011

Based on the above, Qatar can now completely process all whole blood into blood components (red cells, platelets, and plasma) in as little as 5 hours from collection!

2011-2020:

I established policies and procedures for the hospital blood banks/transfusion services, blood donor center, therapeutic apheresis, and laboratory information systems to bring HMC in compliance with the Council of Europe, international AABB, and other standards.  I customized our own standards for our local needs based on them.

2012-2013

Implemented custom build of the multilingual blood bank computer system (Medinfo) for both patient and donor services, including development of interfaces to all production equipment including Atreus and Mirasol (world’s first) and a direct link to Ministry of the Interior to obtain patient demographics in English and Arabic—Qatar became the world’s first site to combine fully-interfaced, automated component production with pathogen inactivation:  Qatar becomes world reference site for this.

2013-2014

Built, validated, and implemented laboratory build of hospital information system, Cerner Millennium

2015

Replaced and updated Atreus with Reveos automated component production to allow faster throughput and capacity with a full bidirectional interface (world’s first), introduced platelet

additive solution PAS with pathogen inactivation (Mirasol)—Medinfo interfaces updated to Reveos for all equipment:  this doubles the capacity to process whole blood into components using the same physical space

2015-2019

Updated dedicated blood bank software Medinfo Hematos IIG by several versions using Division Head, LIS, and internally trained Super Users—at great cost savings to HMC by not using outside consultants (e.g. Dell Consulting)

2019

Established column absorption technology using Terumo Optia therapeutic apheresis machine for treatment of ABO-incompatible renal transplants:  I validated using the Ortho Vision MAX to perform ABO antibody titers for this system and correlated it with the reference method at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (manual gel) to bring rapid throughput and labor savings—Qatar being the first-site in the world to do this.  We saved money by using the same apheresis machine to use this column absorption technology (no need for second machine to use the columns)

2020

Expedited setup (two weeks total) of COVID-19 convalescent plasma production, initially manual and then fully integrated into the Medinfo computer system as a customized module with separate quarantine collection, production, and transfusion service functions

Other:

I was awarded two HMC Star of Excellence Awards:

2013—Liver Transplantation Transfusion Support

2019—ABO-Incompatible Renal Transplantation Support

Therapeutic Apheresis Process

This is an update of a previous post.

Principle:

All therapeutic apheresis procedures are potentially life-threatening and must only occur by an order from a transfusion medicine physician with experience/competence in such procedures.

Definitions:

  • Referring Physician is the clinical physician requesting a therapeutic apheresis procedure.
  • Transfusion Medicine Physician is a physician in the Transfusion Medicine Section with medical privileges for therapeutic apheresis procedures.  This includes the Head, Transfusion Medicine, consultants in Transfusion Medicine, and designated specialist physicians in Transfusion Medicine.  The final decision to accept/reject the patient is made by the transfusion medicine physician.
  • Covering Physician is the clinical physician designated by the referring physician to be physically present and covering the patient in case of any adverse reactions during a therapeutic apheresis procedure.
  • Apheresis Nurses are nurses in Transfusion Medicine who are designated by this section for performing therapeutic apheresis procedures.
  • Medical Privileges are determined by the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in conjunction with the medical staff medical privileging by the Hospital Medical Director.

Policy:

  1. The referral physician will discuss the request for a therapeutic apheresis with the designated transfusion medicine physician.  The referral physician must certify that the patient can tolerate the procedure based on his medical condition.
  2. The transfusion medicine physician will review the patient’s clinical and laboratory data, with special note of the history of allergies, medications, previous transfusion reactions, and current vital signs.
  3. Vascular access will be initially assessed by the apheresis nurse.  Any questionable situations will be reviewed by the transfusion medicine physician.
    1. It is the responsibility of the referring physician to provide vascular access.
  4. The following laboratory values (less than 24 hours old) must be available before the procedure may begin—additional tests also as per transfusion medicine physician:
    1. CBC including platelet count
    2. PT and APTT
    3. Fibrinogen
    4. Serum calcium
    5. Serum protein and albumin
    6. LDH for TTP cases
  5. A valid type and screen must have been done within the previous three (3) days of the procedure.
  6. Upon review of # 2 through 5, the transfusion medicine physician will determine if the procedure is indicated and will communicate this to the referral physician, who will sign written order in the patient chart.  Appropriate replacement fluids will also be mutually agreed upon in advance of the procedure and ordered by the transfusion medicine physician.  The order specification must include:
    1. Name of procedure and specification (e.g. therapeutic plasma exchange, isovolemic)
    2. Replacement fluid type and volume (e.g. 3 liters 5% albumin, 2 liters, FFP, cryoprecipitate, normal saline)
    3. Blood component orders if indicated (e.g. RBC exchange) and timing (before, during, and/or after the procedure)
    4. Calcium replacement (e.g. 2 grams calcium gluconate IV in 100 ml normal saline to run during the procedure)
    5. Any special laboratory testing post-procedure
  7. Use of a remote vital signs/oximeter/EKG device such as the Umana T1 should be considered in high-risk patients.
  8. The apheresis nurse takes orders ONLY from the responsible transfusion medicine physician.
    1. If the referring physician wants any other orders or changes, he must get the approval of the responsible transfusion medicine physician.  He does NOT give orders to the apheresis nurse
  9. The apheresis nurse will follow the orders of the necessary prescribed replacement fluids (FFP, albumin, PPF) in the quantities necessary for the exchange..
  10. The referring physician (not the apheresis nurse) will obtain the signed, informed consent from the patient.
  11. If vascular access is unsatisfactory, the referring physician will obtain the proper access (central line, AV shunt, etc.).
  12. The referring physician will arrange for a physician member of his team to be present at the actual therapeutic procedure.  This physician designate will be responsible to treat any complications arising from the procedure.
  13. Vital signs and weight will be obtained before starting the procedure.
  14. When approved by the Blood Bank Director or designate with proper venous access and informed consent, the apheresis may start the procedure in the presence of the patient’s covering physician.  The procedure will be performed in a designated hospital area.
  15. The procedure must be documented on the appropriate therapeutic apheresis order and procedure worksheets.

References:

  1. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, MD, USA
  2. CAP Standard TRM.42245 regarding therapeutic apheresis procedures

Therapeutic Apheresis Policy

This has been revised to recommend the use of a continuously recording portable vital signs device such as Umana’s UT1M (GPI, Italia) which includes PAO2 and heart rhythm measurements.

Principle:

All therapeutic apheresis procedures are potentially life-threatening and must only occur by an order from a transfusion medicine physician with experience/competence in such procedures.

Definitions:

  • Referring Physician is the clinical physician requesting a therapeutic apheresis procedure.
  • Transfusion Medicine Physician is a physician in the Transfusion Medicine Section with medical privileges for therapeutic apheresis procedures.  This includes the Head, Transfusion Medicine, consultants in Transfusion Medicine, and designated specialist physicians in Transfusion Medicine.  The final decision to accept/reject the patient is made by the transfusion medicine physician.
  • Covering Physician is the clinical physician designated by the referring physician to be physically present and covering the patient in case of any adverse reactions during a therapeutic apheresis procedure.
  • Apheresis Nurses are nurses in Transfusion Medicine who are designated by this section for performing therapeutic apheresis procedures.
  • Medical Privileges are determined by Transfusion Medicine in conjunction with the medical privileging by the Medical Director.

Policy:

  1. The referral physician will discuss the request for a therapeutic apheresis with the designated transfusion medicine physician.  The referral physician must certify that the patient can tolerate the procedure based on his medical condition.
  2. The transfusion medicine physician will review the patient’s clinical and laboratory data, with special note of the history of allergies, medications, previous transfusion reactions, and current vital signs.
  3. Vascular access will be initially assessed by the apheresis nurse.  Any questionable situations will be reviewed by the transfusion medicine physician.
  4. The following laboratory values (less than 24 hours old) must be available before the procedure may begin:
    1. CBC including platelet count
    2. PT and APTT
    3. Fibrinogen
    4. Serum calcium
    5. Serum protein and albumin
    6. LDH for TTP cases
  5. A valid type and screen must have been done within the previous three days of the procedure.
  6. Upon review of # 2 through 5, the transfusion medicine physician will determine if the procedure is indicated and will communicate this to the referral physician, who will sign written order in the patient chart.  Appropriate replacement fluids will also be mutually agreed upon in advance of the procedure and ordered by the transfusion medicine physician.  The order specification must include:
    1. Name of procedure and specification (e.g. therapeutic plasma exchange, isovolemic)
    2. Replacement fluid type and volume (e.g. 3 liters 5% albumin, 2 liters, FFP, cryoprecipitate, normal saline)
    3. Blood component orders if indicated (e.g. RBC exchange) and timing (before, during, and/or after the procedure)
    4. Calcium replacement (e.g. 2 grams calcium gluconate IV in 100 ml normal saline to run during the procedure)
    5. Any special laboratory testing post-procedure
  7. The apheresis nurse will follow the orders of the necessary prescribed replacement fluids (FFP, albumin, PPF) in the quantities necessary for the exchange.
  8. The referring physician will obtain the signed, informed consent from the patient.
  9. If vascular access is unsatisfactory, the referring physician will obtain the proper access (central line, AV shunt, etc.).
  10. The referring physician will arrange for a physician member of his team to be present at the actual therapeutic procedure.  This physician designate will be responsible to treat any complications arising from the procedure.
  11. Vital signs and weight will be obtained before starting the procedure.
  12. If the procedure is outside an intensive care unit and the patient is critically ill, consider the use of a portable attached monitoring patch (such as the Umana UT1M device).  The device will give alarm if any measurement is outside the defined ranges.
    1. If any blood components are administered, keep the patch attached to detect TRALI/TACO and other adverse transfusion reactions.
  13. When approved by the Blood Bank Director or designate with proper venous access and informed consent, the apheresis may start the procedure in the presence of the patient’s covering physician.  The procedure will be performed in a designated hospital area.
  14. The procedure must be documented on the appropriate therapeutic apheresis order and procedure worksheets.

References:

  1. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, MD, USA
  2. CAP Standard TRM.42245 regarding therapeutic apheresis procedures

Revised 3/1/21

My Experience: Blood Bank Considerations for Setting Up ABO-Incompatible Renal Transplantation

Setting up ABO-incompatible renal transplants is a major undertaking and requires close coordination between Transfusion Medicine and the clinical team.  This post addresses my experience in setting up this program in 2019 at HMC in Qatar.

Like any process involving titration, it is best to automate it to minimize inter-technologist variability.  Unfortunately, doing both IgG and IgM titers takes up to 1 hour per machine and totally monopolizes the machine during that interval.  I did not have sufficient staff to even consider doing the titrations manually.  Performing automated titers disrupted my workflow so I encouraged the clinicians to send the specimens for off-peak processing.

Titration:

  1. Obtain the full clinical protocol and especially note the thresholds for transplantation.
  2. Determine the methodologies used at the reference site.  Can you do this at your local site or do you have to use an alternative method?
  3. Do you have equipment to automatically titer?  Doing both IgG and IgM may monopolize an immunohematology analyzer for one hour?  How will this affect your other testing?
  4. Regardless if it is the same method, you must still correlate your titers with the protocol site, both IgG and IgM.
  5. If you are using multiple analyzers for titration, you must do a comparison study between them.  How much does the titer vary?

Columns:

  1. Determine column inventory and order the A, B, and AB columns.  You must order enough to finish the course of treatment.  It may take weeks to get additional columns, depending on your supply chain.  Each column costs thousands of euros.
  2. Where are you going to store the columns?  Ours needed 2-8C storage.  Can you keep them away from quarantined products and patient specimens?
  3. Are your columns single-use? 
  4. If multi-use, who is going to restore them after use?  How do you ensure that it is dedicated for the right patient?

Apheresis Equipment:

  1. How are you going to attach the column to the apheresis equipment?
  2. Will you use your therapeutic apheresis equipment like Terumo Optia directly or will you use a second machine (e.g. Medicap)?
  3. Do you have all the clamps, tubing, and holder for the column?

Staffing:

  1. Do you have sufficient apheresis nurses to perform the procedures?  You may be running the apheresis for up to 8 hours.  How does this impact your other procedures or donor center operations?  Our pool of apheresis nurses was very limited.  They also covered routine blood donation.  How will doing this process impact your regular donation and other apheresis operations—donor and therapeutic?
  2. Do you have sufficient supplies of ACD-A anticoagulant and calcium gluconate?

Specimen Collection:

  1. Perform titrations expeditiously:  Can you finish titration testing before the next scheduled procedure?  In our institution, we collected specimens at 0400 and had them directly brought to the blood bank for testing.  Results were ready at 0600 so the clinicians could decide early if another procedure was needed.

Table of Permissible ABO Types:

  1. Define acceptable blood products by blood type—take into consideration pathogen inactivation and platelet additive solution if used.  At our institution, all RBCs were in additive solution and all platelets were pathogen-inactivated in platelet additive solution PAS so residual ABO antibodies were minimal in the final components.  Since the platelets contain only minimal plasma, we did not concern ourselves with matching their ABO type with the donor kidney.  Otherwise, platelet types with plasma compatible to the donor kidney must be selected.

Software:

  1. Prepare a truth table for acceptable ABO component types based on #16 above.
  2. Include the titer cutoff for IgG and IgM antibodies in the organ transplant module.

Selection of blood component for ABO-incompatible renal transplantation is discussed in a separate post that will follow.

25/12/20

Leukodepletion Apheresis Form

This form is the result of a collaborative effort between my therapeutic apheresis team and me. I want to thank Dr. Saloua Al Hmissi, Consultant, Transfusion Medicine, and Ms. Mini Paul, Head Apheresis Nurse for all their efforts.

This form can be readily converted into a computer data entry form–depending on your software’s capabilities.