29 May 2015 (Friday) - IBMS Newsletter

The IBMS newsletter came out… last month I wasn’t impressed. This month it covered various topics including:

Elections to the IBMS council. I’ve voted for one chap purely because he’s on my Facebook
list. Realistically I don’t know one candidate from the next.

Retention & Storage of Records. Not really of direct relevance to me. I don’t set retention policies.

Professional Guidance. Again I don’t set policies for supervision of support staff or for staffing levels

And so it went on…. Whilst there were one or two snippets in there I couldn’t help but feel it was written with the lab manager in mind.

28 May 2015 (Thursday) - Patient Blood Management

Patient Blood Management is a multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to optimising the care of patients who might need blood transfusion.

Today I received their newsletter. I’ll not lie; for all that it was a refresher, it was rather basic. O Neg blood *is* important but they could have gone in to more detail…. I suspect I’m not their target audience…?

27 May 2015 (Wednesday) - So Simple...

When validating results one can either use the “1” key or the “A” key. I’ve always used the “1” key. But if results haven’t yet transmitted from the analyser to the host computer…..

                             Specimen Results Entry

ROUGHCUTT,RUFUS                                           27/05/2015 12:44
MR       13/05/1935   Male     101010            Clinical Decision Unit KCH
Oregon                   Dr Patrick Pending
exacerbation of asthma                      
Specimen No   :  AK123456K               Selected Auth Level : S
 HB    ^       E000 |NEUH          E000 |                   |
 HBG           E000 |LYMPH         E000 |                   |
 WBC           E000 |MONO          E000 |                   |
 PLT           E000 |EOS           E000 |                   |
 RBC           E000 |BASO          E000 |                   |
 HCT           E000 |                   |                   |
 MCV           E000 |                   |                   |
 MCH           E000 |                   |                   |
 MCHC  ^       E000 |                   |                   |
 MCHCG         E000 |                   |                   |
LTG comments : F.,FR

 1 Auth'd   2 Unauth'd   3 Nomin'd   4 Change  

and if one is “trigger-happy” the “1” will go into a result slot. And because it’s a number will be accepted. I’d like to think I’ve always spotted any such error and corrected it, but it is a possibility for error.
A colleague pointed out that if I use the “A” key this potential for error is eliminated as the “A” won’t be accepted as a potential result.

So simple its brilliant!!

24 April 2015 (Friday) - An Email

From: NHSBT Customer Service [mailto:-deleted email address-]
Sent: 23 April 2015 15:22
To: Transfusion Laboratory Managers; Transfusion Practitioners; Consultant Haematologist; HTC Chairs
Subject: NHSBT: April Communication from NHS Blood and Transplant - Information only

Dear Colleague

Please note that the April communication to hospitals from NHS Blood and Transplant is now available on our website, please see link below:


Please note that this month's communication includes the following information:

For Action
1.1  OBOS Training System 6.0.2
1.2  New Transport Containers

For Information
2.1 Two brand new Patient Information Leaflets launched
2.2 Patient Information Leaflet – Blood Groups and Red Cell Antibodies in Pregnancy Version 3
2.3 Update on NHSBT Platelet Supply Project
2.4 NHSBT TACSI Platelet Production
2.5 New OBOS version release dates

For Training
3.1 Training & Education Events and Courses


Customer Service
NHS Blood and Transplant
:-deleted phone number-
:-deleted email address-

The NHSBT newsletter is usually quite interesting... I found this one something of a disappointment...

22 April 2015 (Wednesday) - Something New

Back in the day science knew that T cells were either CD4+ 8- or CD4- 8+. They simply weren’t CD4- 8-.
However it would seem science has changed its mind. Gamma-delta T cells are quite a recent discovery, but they illustrate that lymphocyte immunophenotyping still has much to learn

20 April 2015 (Monday) - The Historical Record

Here’s something which, although I knew it, illustrates a point.

Name:TRACY, VIRGIL              Group & Abs A-      <*ABS*  <SRPAD>

Diamed Group      Clinically Approved By M.L. ESSO
 Confirmed Group                A Rh(D) Negative

 Coded comments :
 PLEASE NOTE Delay in providing x-matched blood possible
 Free text

Previously identified anti-Jka not detected on this occasion.

It’s quite possible for blood group antibodies to reduce in titre to the point of undetectability. As is the case here. In cases like this it’s vital that the history be available so we know the patient has an antibody record.

In this particular case if no history was available it’s possible that an incompatible transfusion might have been given.

10 April 2015 (Friday) - On-Line Malaria Morphology

On-line malaria morphology training…. I’ve been hunting down a decent site for ages. I found one today. Brilliant. Or so I thought until I called the website up

It’s so out of focus as to be unusable. Which is a shame
(I mention this if only to record a lot of effort resulting in failure. C.P.D. doesn’t always work…)

7 April 2015 (Tuesday) - AKI

Acute kidney injury refers to an abrupt loss of renal function. It’s a new test offered based on existing renal parameters. I received a presentation on the subject today.

There’s more on-line

If nothing else it’s shown I’m rather shaky on the intricacies of the kidney. The sooner I get going on my Diploma in Biomedical Science the better….

5 April 2015 (Sunday) - What *Are* We Measuring?

Here’s an article which made me think.


The IFCC Working Group for the Standardization of Cardiac Troponin I (WG-TNI) believes it is possible to standardize cTnI measurement and has evaluated 16 current assays for measurement equivalence and their standardization capability using an initial harmonization approach. At the same time serum pools prepared in various ways from cTnI-positive patient sera were tested for harmonization. 

Results of the pilot study showed about a 10-fold difference in cTnI concentrations among assays and that this is largely due to differences in calibration. When these calibration differences were removed by a mathematical recalculation (using regression slope and y-intercept values), the inter-assay variation is typical of External Quality Assessment Scheme results of methods measuring more common analytes.

Blah blah blah…. Or so I thought until I read the next bit

The ability to mathematically recalibrate assays is an indication that the assays are measuring the same analyte despite the diversity of cTnI antibodies in use and the inherent structural variability of the cTnI analyte. 

That’s rather important. For all that we come up with these numbers in the lab and the controls we use say we’ve got the right number, can we *really* be sure what we’re coming up with?

Apparently so.