YNHH converts to a safer platelet supply

As of Nov. 7, Blood Banks at the York Street and Saint Raphael campuses began converting from current platelet products used for transfusion to a new "pathogen-reduced" product called Intercept, which will help improve blood safety.

"The Intercept platelet product is treated with a material called psoralen, that, when activated by ultraviolet-A light, helps de-activate infectious pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, spirochetes and parasitic organisms," said Edward Snyder, MD, director, Transfusion/Apheresis/Tissue Implantation Services. "By using this product, we can help prevent transfusion-associated bacterial sepsis and reduce allergic transfusion reactions."

Used in Europe for the past 20 years, the Intercept product and pathogen-reduction process were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration two years ago. The Intercept platelets are drawn by the American Red Cross from the same donor pool that provides the hospital's current platelet products.

The psoralen-treated platelet product looks different from the conventional product. It is a lighter color and comes in a storage bag slightly longer than the current bag. The bag has a different label without a radiation sticker. Since all psoralen-treated platelets are single donor (SDP) units, all such platelet units will be SDP.

Education for physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other providers is ongoing. Epic screens have been modified so the platelet units can be scanned.

The Intercept products will be transfused when platelets are requested for patients of all ages, including pediatrics, and for all service lines, including oncology and obstetrics. Since the full transition to Intercept platelets could take several months, the Blood Bank will temporarily maintain a dual inventory. For more information, contact the Blood Bank, 203-688-2443.