New equipment makes blood transfusions more efficient

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LAURIUM, Mich. (WLUC) – Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium has a new technology that lowers the time it takes to do a blood transfusion.

There are many situations that may require a blood transfusion. Oftentimes in an emergency situation, if you're in a car accident, if you break your leg. Another situation is that chemotherapy patients often require blood transfusions.

In 2016, Aspirus performed 509 transfusions, and now, they will be able to prepare blood units faster. They just got the Immucor Echo technology, which can test up to 20 samples of blood at a time against donor units. Previously, a lab technologist would need to manually check each sample, taking much more time.

“This technology allows us to bring our physicians the fastest results so they can treat their patients sooner,” Laboratory Manager Christina Asiala said.

In order to have a successful transfusion, the donor blood type must be compatible with the patient’s blood type, as well as several other factors.

“If we don't have a compatible transfusion, then what could happen is it will actually cause a problem in the patient's body where their red blood cells will start to burst and cause problems,” Medical Technologist Melissa Loukus said.

The Immucor Echo mixes blood samples beforehand, to test for any adverse reactions.

Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital is the third hospital to have the technology in the U.P., and the only one with it in the Western U.P.

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