Red blood cell depletion with a semiautomated system or hydroxyethyl starch sedimentation for routine cord blood banking: a comparative study


Pilar Solves, Valencia Transfusion Center, Avenida del Cid 65-A, 46014 Valencia, Spain; e-mail:


BACKGROUND: The major problem with long-term cord blood (CB) banking is the required storage space. In this sense, many studies have been performed to establish techniques for volume reduction of CB units.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We compared two different methods for CB volume reduction in both development and routine phases: hydroxyethyl starch (HES) sedimentation and top-and-bottom fractionation with the Optipress II (Baxter Healthcare). Monitoring the total nucleated cell (TNC) count, lymphocytes, CD34+ cells, and colony-forming unit (CFU) content in both preprocess and postprocess CB units assessed the volume reduction process.

RESULTS: The CB units processed in both groups had comparable volume and cells counts before and after volume reduction, except for number of red blood cells (RBCs), which was significantly greater for the Optipress II group. Recoveries of CD34+ and RBC depletion were significantly better for the HES group. For routine processing, TNC and lymphocyte recoveries were significantly better for CB units processed by the Optipress II system. There was, however, significantly less depletion of RBCs for this group. The time required for CB processing with the Optipress II was significantly shorter than the time needed for volume reduction by addition of HES (25 ± 5 min vs. 55 ± 10 min).

CONCLUSION: The volume reduction method with the Optipress II is a closed time-saving system that allows good cell recoveries. In contrast, the main advantage of the HES method is the higher RBC depletion that influences CFU content. Reducing RBC content must be the object of further improvements for volume reduction using the Optipress II method.