Diagnostic accuracy of blood centers in the screening of blood donors for viral markers
Introduction: Blood transfusion still remains a life saving intervention in almost all healthcare facilities worldwide. Screening of blood donors/blood units is done in almost every blood bank facility before the blood units/blood components are transfused to prevent transfusion- transmissible infections. The kind of testing kits or the methods used by a facility and the technical expertise of the personnel greatly affects the screening results of a facility. This study was aimed at evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of five hospital-based blood bank testing facilities (Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital KNUST, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Agogo, Bekwai and Sunyani) that used rapid immunochromatograhic assays (RIA) in screening blood donors/blood units in Ghana.
Methods: Blood samples (300) from the five testing facilities and their screening results for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) using RIAs were obtained. All the samples were then analysed for the three viral markers using 3rd generational enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit as the gold standard.
Results: The mean false positive for HBsAg was 2.2% with Bekwai testing facility having the highest of 4.4%. For HCV, the mean false positive was 2.8% with Agogo and Bekwai testing facilities having the highest of 8.7% respectively. For HIV screening, the mean false positive was 11.1% with Bekwai testing facility having the highest of 28.0%. The mean false negative for the facilities were 3.0% for HBV, 75.0% for HCV and 0.0% for HIV with KATH having the highest of 6.3% for HBV, Bekwai having the highest of 100% for HCV and no facility showing false negative for HIV. Mean sensitivity of the screening procedure for the facilities was 97.0%, 25.0% and 100.0% whilst the mean specificity was 97.8%, 97.2% and 88.9% for HBV, HCV and HIV respectively. Statistical comparison among the testing facilities showed no significant differences among the various testing centres for HBV screening; however, significant differences were obtained for HCV and HIV screening.
Conclusion: This study has shown that there is no standardised screening procedure for blood bank testing facilities in the country. There is therefore an urgent need for an internal and external control body to oversee screening procedures in blood banks across the country.