BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology is emerging as one of the most pervasive computing technologies due to its broad applicability. Storage of red blood cells (RBCs) is a routine procedure worldwide. Depending on the additive solution, RBCs can be stored at 4 ± 2°C up to 49 days. To support the decision of discarding or further using a blood product, temperature measurement of each unit could be provided by RFID application. The safety evaluation of RFID devices was demonstrated in a regulatory agency required study. It has been concluded in limit tests that high frequency–based RFID technology performed safely for blood products; therefore, a longer exposure of radiofrequency (RF) energy on blood units was performed in this study to detect any biologic effects in RBC samples.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Buffy coat–depleted, in line–filtered RBCs were used as standard products in all tests. Various variables like pH, potassium, glucose, lactate, hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit, free Hb, and hemolysis rate were measured in a test group with RFID tags placed on their surface and continuously radiated with 13.56-MHz RFID reader radiation for 42 days while stored at 4 ± 2°C and compared to a control group by two-sample t test.
RESULTS: In both groups glucose and pH levels decreased while lactate, free Hb, and potassium increased within the expected levels. The hemolysis rate showed increase after the 25th day but remained below the maximum acceptable threshold of 0.8%.
CONCLUSION: It is feasible to implement RFID-enabled processes, without detecting any known biologic effects of longer exposure of RF energy on the quality of RBCs.