Back to Top Skip to main content

First cold storage platelet unit collected in Southwest Asia

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Flannigan, NCO in charge of the apheresis element with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group, monitors the Trima Accel Automated Blood Collection System machine used to obtain blood platelets from donors at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Apheresis element Airmen are tasked with collecting and storing platelet products and providing them for distribution throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti) Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Flannigan, NCO in charge of the apheresis element with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group, monitors the Trima Accel Automated Blood Collection System machine used to obtain blood platelets from donors at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Apheresis element Airmen are tasked with collecting and storing platelet products and providing them for distribution throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti)

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Health Readiness | Innovation

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar— Recently, Al Udeid Air Base shipped its first unit of cold storage platelets to a location within the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Area of Responsibility. The shipment marked the first time cold storage platelets have been stored and shipped from Al Udeid Air Base for use in the AOR. The platelets were collected from a volunteer donor and processed by the Apheresis Element here. 

“This is huge for the war fighter,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Becky Pederson, chief assigned to the Apheresis Element of the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group.

Platelets are separated out and collected during apheresis at Al Udeid, Air Base, Qatar. The platelets will be shipped to locations across the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility using a cold storage platelets technique. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bradly A. Schneider)Platelets are separated out and collected during apheresis at Al Udeid, Air Base, Qatar. The platelets will be shipped to locations across the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility using a cold storage platelets technique. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bradly A. Schneider)

Pederson explained that CSP is a new technique involving the handling, storage and shipment of platelets. By authorizing the use of CSP for DoD purposes outside of the United States, U.S. Central Command has made it possible to ship platelets to remote locations where they have not been available in the past. The current standards for handling platelets, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, known as room temperature platelets, require platelets to be stored at room temperature, limiting the shelf life to five to seven days and requiring constant agitation making it nearly impossible to ship to locations where equipment and access is limited. 

The process for CSP has many advantages over the current FDA approved room temperature method. While room temperature platelets are susceptible to bacterial contamination, CSP are stored in a refrigerated environment with the likelihood of bacterial contamination nearly eliminated. In addition, RTPs must sit for 24 hours before they can be tested for bacteria prior to shipment, further limiting the viable shelf life of the product. CSP, on the other hand, can be tested within one hour of collection and shipped in a cooler the same day, possibly arriving to the field hospital with eight or nine days of shelf life. 

“It changes the entire strategy for transfusions; I think it’s a very exciting development,” said Air Force Capt. Timothy Sommerville, internal medicine doctor assigned to the 379th EMG, referring to the use of CSP. “I think it has the potential to really move field medicine closer in line with the standard of care in the United States.” 

There are two general options for treating a patient with significant blood loss. A doctor can conduct a transfusion using whole blood or use blood component therapy. 

“Component therapy is a gold standard,” said Pederson. Safer than using whole blood, component therapy is the most commonly accepted method for conducting blood transfusions. 

Packed red blood cells and blood plasma have been available in the field for some time, and now CSP gives doctors all the components they need to use blood component therapy in trauma centers across the AOR. Blood component therapy refers to the procedure where blood is delivered to a patient in three separate components; packed red blood cells, blood plasma and blood platelets. 

Blood used in whole blood therapy is available in two forms. The first form consists of pre-packaged units collected from donors, which are shipped and stored under refrigerated conditions. The second and more common form in battlefield conditions, explained Sommerville, is whole blood collected from a “walking blood bank” or, in other words, someone with the right blood type who is willing to donate then and there. The problem with a walking blood bank, however, is that although you get a fresh supply of vibrant blood, rejection is always a real possibility when using whole blood. 

“There is almost no situation within the United States in which we would give whole blood,” said Sommerville. He goes onto explain that whole blood therapy is generally outdated and only used when component therapy is not an option. 

“Most facilities down range do not have the capability to store platelets,” said Pederson, in reference to the FDA approved method of platelet storage. 

Blood platelets are collected through the process of apheresis, which lasts approximately two hours. During that time, the donor’s blood is removed through a needle inserted in the vein above the elbow. The blood is circulated through an apheresis machine, where the platelets are separated out and the blood, minus the platelets, is returned to the donor. The process is comfortable and safe and most donors leave feeling great and generally unaffected by the donation. 

It is very likely that CSP, a method developed by the military to advance the capabilities for saving lives in the field, will eventually be the standard practice used around the world for handling and shipping platelets. 

“It’s a game changer, that’s for sure,” said Sommerville. 

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Walking blood banks fill gap for medical care in field environment

Article
8/6/2019
Army Sgt. Charles Moncayo, 82nd Airborne Division Band, get his blood drawn as part of the low titer O testing at a blood drive hosted by the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery. The XVIII Airborne Corps is identifying Soldiers with blood type O who have low levels of antibodies in their blood. These individuals have the ability to provide an immediate blood donation to an injured person of any blood type that needs a transfusion at or near the point of injury. (U.S. Army photo Eve Meinhardt)

The ability to identify low titer O Soldiers provides a flexible approach to accessing the lifesaving measures that whole blood provides

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program

MSMR Vol. 26 No. 8 - August 2019

Report
8/1/2019

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Modeling Lyme disease host animal habitat suitability, West Point, New York; Incidence, timing, and seasonal patterns of heat illnesses during U.S. Army basic combat training, 2014–2018; Update: Heat illness, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2014–2018; Update: Exertional hyponatremia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2003–2018

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Tick Facts: Dangers at the height of tick season

Article
7/31/2019
A tick like this one, seen at 10x magnification, can spread a number of dangerous pathogens during the warm-weather months. (Photo by Cornel Constantin)

Many diseases are transferred to humans by ticks — Lyme is the most common, but several others, described here, are worth knowing about

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Tick-Borne Illnesses | Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Public Health

Zapping mosquitoes from the inside out

Article
7/29/2019
While chemical mosquito population control measures have been used with some degree of success, they are toxic to other insect populations and to the health of humans. A different angle of defense has emerged, which is genetic modification of the mosquito itself, making it transgenic. Transgenic mosquitoes are unable to transmit a pathogen, such as malaria, due to their altered genetic makeup. (DoD photo)

Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying at summer barbecues. In many parts of the world, they carry pathogens for Zika, dengue, yellow fever and malaria, the most devastating of mosquito-borne diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 440,000 people died in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 from malaria, contracted from the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Protecting U.S. military personnel who continue to serve in this part of world is critical.

Recommended Content:

Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Zika Virus | Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Preventive Health | Innovation | Medical Research and Development | Deployment Health

U.S., Royal Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons train together

Article
7/26/2019
Reserve Citizen Airmen from Joint Base Charleston's 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prepare a mock patient during a drill inside a C-17 Globemaster III, July 10, 2019. Drills performed while in-flight are to mimic real-life scenarios that the 315 AES may encounter. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman William Brugge)

The C-17 Globemaster III serves as a common platform for medevacs in both squadrons

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability

Stop the Bleed: A battlefield innovation on civilian soil

Article
7/19/2019
USU's Dr. Craig Goolsby (center) observes as high school students at a conference in Orlando, Florida, practice using a tourniquet after watching a web-based tutorial. Goolsby is researching effective teaching methods as part of a grant to develop a trauma first-aid course for students that incorporates elements of Stop the Bleed. (USU photo by Sarah Marshall)

Program teaches public how to respond to bleeding emergencies

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Innovation | Medical Research and Development | Emergency Preparedness and Response

Bug Week Fact Sheet Chagas

Fact Sheet
7/16/2019

This fact sheet, from the Armed Services Blood Program, describes how Chagas is transmitted, its signs and symptoms, and how to prevent getting the disease.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Armed Services Blood Program

Bug Week Fact Sheet West Nile

Fact Sheet
7/16/2019

This fact sheet, from the Armed Services Blood Program, describes how West Nile is transmitted, its signs and symptoms, and how to prevent getting the disease.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Armed Services Blood Program | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Bug Week Fact Sheet Malaria

Fact Sheet
7/16/2019

This fact sheet, from the Armed Services Blood Program, describes how Malaria is transmitted, its signs and symptoms, and how to prevent getting the disease.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Armed Services Blood Program | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Bug Week Fact Sheet Babesia

Fact Sheet
7/16/2019

This fact sheet, from the Armed Services Blood Program, describes how Babesia is transmitted, its signs and symptoms, and how to prevent getting the disease.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Tick-Borne Illnesses | Armed Services Blood Program

Bug Week Fact Sheet Dengue

Fact Sheet
7/16/2019

This fact sheet, from the Armed Services Blood Program, describes how Dengue is transmitted, its signs and symptoms, and how to prevent getting the disease.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Armed Services Blood Program | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

New Blood-mobile to aid ASBP Fort Bliss

Article
7/10/2019
Leadership from William Beaumont Army Medical Center, the Fort Bliss Armed Services Blood Program Blood Donor Center, and the El Paso Veteran’s Affairs Health Care System pose for a picture in front of the new blood-mobile that arrived July 2, 2019, at WBAMC. (U.S. Army photo by Amabilia Payen)

Fort Bliss provides about 20 percent of the blood that the Army sends downrange

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program

Mononucleosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Mononucleosis

A specimen is tested for mononucleosis at the medical clinic on Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Influenza

Infographic
7/1/2019
Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Zika

Infographic
7/1/2019
Zika

Anopheles merus mosquito. (CDC photo by James Gathany)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 42

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.