Establishing an antigen-negative red blood cell inventory in a hospital-based blood bank




Our blood bank is part of a large academic institution with an active sickle cell anemia program. We provide sickle patients with blood phenotypically matched for C/c, E/e, and K antigens. Since licensed reagents are available for phenotyping C/c, E/e, and K on an automated blood analyzer, we decided to evaluate whether establishing our own inventory of blood negative for those antigens would result in cost savings and decreased turnaround time (TAT).

Study Design and Methods

Antigen typing of blood units for C/c, E/e, and K was validated. From March 1, 2012, to August 31, 2012, a total of 1033 units from our own donor center and from our suppliers were phenotyped. We compared direct cost savings and TAT for blood availability with historical data before we began phenotyping.


Thirty-eight percent of typed antigen-negative (AG–) units were transfused to sickle patients. An additional 35% were transfused to nonsickle patients needing AG– blood. Twenty-one percent were used by patients without antibodies to prevent outdating. The remaining 6% had not yet been transfused by the end of the study period. From March 1, 2011, to August 31, 2011, we spent almost $200,000 on obtaining AG– blood. In the 6 months since we started antigen typing, we have saved approximately $110,000, the majority of which resulted from AG– blood provided to sickle patients. In addition, TAT for AG– units from our inventory significantly improved to 1 to 2 hours versus approximately 6 hours when obtained from our suppliers.


Establishing an AG– inventory in a hospital-based blood bank is cost-effective and time-efficient.