Sanquin Bank of Frozen Blood

One of the challenges in transfusion medicine is to provide compatible blood for patients who are negative for blood group antigens with a very high frequency in the population (so called public antigens), as well as positive for alloantibodies against any of those antigens.

A second category of patients for whom compatible blood may be difficult to find are those with a combination of alloantibodies, so that donors negative for all the antigens involved are very rare.

If autologous blood is not available or not sufficient to cover the needs of the aforementioned patients, it may be necessary to use frozen red cell concentrates from the Sanquin Bank of Frozen Blood (SBFB).

Red Cell Freezing

For cryopreservation the low-glycerol method was used till 2006 and the frozen red cells were stored at –196°C in liquid nitrogen. Since 2006 the high-glycerol method is used what results in storage in refrigerators at -80°C. Glycerol protects red cells from damage during freezing and thawing. The preservation time at -196°C is virtually indefinite, but at -80°C at least 10 years.

After thawing the units must be transfused within 24-48 hours depending on the use of open or closed systems due to the risk of bacterial contamination.

How to request blood units from the Sanquin Bank of Frozen Blood
Units should preferably be ordered by telephone and must be confirmed by fax. Blood can be ordered at any time. Please call +31 20 512 3010 and/or use fax +31 20 512 3670.

Thawing and reconstitution of frozen blood takes about 4-6 hours. If more than four units are required the processing will be about two hours longer.
In almost all cases shipping of the units will be by plane. The time of transportation and the time for customs regulations need to be taken into consideration.

Last edited on: 13 July 2015