Quality and Safety Matters

Blood donors play an integral role in support of the delivery of modern healthcare. Many life-saving medical treatments and procedures involve blood transfusions which would not be possible without a high quality, safe and reliable blood supply.

In order to ensure the safest and highest quality-blood products to our partner hospitals, Central California Blood Center (CCBC) incorporates six layers of safety into our operations and procedures. These six layers include use of a pre-donation health history screening questionnaire, state-of-the-art donor laboratory screening, allowing a donor/donation self exclusion or deferral option, checking all donors against a registry of historically deferred/disqualified donors, and transfusion recipient investigations if needed.

Fourteen donor laboratory screening tests are performed on every unit of donated blood. Ten of the 14 tests are now used to detect infectious diseases, and include tests for evidence of infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), West Nile virus (WNV), syphilis, and others. This laboratory screening process is very effective in helping to prevent transmission of infectious agents through blood transfusion to patients requiring blood transfusion therapy.

Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT), the newest testing technology available in donor laboratory screening, introduced to provide earlier and more sensitive detection of certain infectious agents, is also in use at CCBC. In July 2003, the blood industry began donor laboratory screening using a new WNV NAT test. During the summer months in areas where positive donations have been recorded, a more sensitive procedure is employed to further reduce the chance of transmission through transfusion. Also, blood products from donors who donate and later develop WNV symptoms of infection will be recalled and discarded.

With such attention given to providing safe and high-quality blood products, we continue serving the community with an important gift of life.