Africa Sanguine

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Non-invasive technology to determine the haemoglobin level of blood donors at the SANBS

Debbie Strydom, Karin van den Berg


Background: Predonation haemoglobin (Hb) check has been done traditionally by the copper sulphate (CuSO4), or the haemocue haemoglobinometer methods. Both of these require a fingerprick of the donor to obtain capillary blood samples. It is thought that a non-invasive, but accurate method of Hb check will reduce stress to the donor and improve the donation experience.

Aim: This study aims to establish the suitability of a non-invasive method, the HaemospectR transcutaneous Hb measurement system for screening prospective donors at the cut-off Hb value of 12.5g/dl.

Materials and methods: All donors who presented for platelet and/or plasma donation at the multi-disciplinary donor centre of SANBS in Port Elizabeth were considered for enrolment. Hb was measured by both the standard automated method on venous EDTA samples, and by the HaemospectR transcutaneous Hb measuring device.

Results: A total of 161 subjects were studied, including white, black, and coloured, male and female donors. The calculated sensitivity of the HaemospectR was 94.6%. The average percentage variance in Hb measurement between the two methods was 1.2%, while 70.8% of subjects had a percentage variance within10% of the venous Hb result.

Discussion and conclusion: The result shows that the accuracy of the HaemospectR measurement was within the 1.5g/dl ascribed to the CuSO4 method. This suggests that the non-invasive method was at least as sensitive as the traditional screening methods. Further large-scale study is recommended to validate the findings in this pilot study.

Keywords: Donor screening, haemoglobin, non-invasive, capillary sample; copper sulphate

AJOL African Journals Online