The ability to transform whole blood into various components, in order to improve treatment outcomes and maximize the donor resources, relies heavily on good centrifuges that form the backbone of any blood bank.
With the advances in medical sciences, blood transfusion has transformed into blood component therapy. The blood banks are dependent on consistent and accurate centrifuge operation in order to separate serum/plasma from cellular components. The separation of a unit of whole blood into its constitutive components—red blood cells, platelets, and plasma—soon after donation is required in order to maximize its clinical value to future transfusion recipients. This ability to transform whole blood into various components, in order to improve treatment outcomes and maximize the donor resources, relies heavily on good centrifuges that form the backbone of any blood bank. Nearly all of the >100 million individual blood components transfused each year worldwide are first produced by multi-stage centrifugation of freshly-donated whole blood units, or through (also centrifugation-based) apheresis collection of a larger amount of a specific component from a willing donor.
Apart from blood sample collection and transportation, sample preparation by centrifugation is among one of the most critical steps in the pre-analytical phase. In order to obtain the best sample quality that allows optimal survival of each component, centrifugation time, speed, and temperature are crucial. Blood banking for this method is laborious, and high-capacity centrifuges represent major monetary commitments—both in capital expenditure and in operation/maintenance. Despite this, the centrifugation-based separation accounts for largest share of the global apheresis equipment market primarily due to its wide usage among end users (blood banks). Manufacturers are engaged in the development of advanced centrifuges for the easy preparation of blood components. With the development of high-speed technology for separating blood components, the market is expected to reach new heights in the years to come.
With more than 1200 road accidents occurring every day in India, and 60 million surgeries, 240 million major operations, 331 million cancer-related procedures like chemotherapy, and 10 million pregnancy complications all require a serious call for transfusion of blood and blood products.
The availability of safe blood and blood products is essential for diverse modern healthcare services including some surgeries, treatments for cancer, chronic medical conditions, trauma care, organ transplantation, and childbirths that ultimately improve the lives of millions of patients who are in need of transfusion annually. Still, the country has not yet developed a well-defined and stringent regulatory framework for blood products regulation. Frailty may arise from the inability of governments to enforce laws, regulations, and policies and personnel who may not be aware or cannot follow quality assurance and/or good manufacturing practices (GMP).
At present, India has 2903 blood banks spread all across the country, of which 1043 are public and 1860 private, including those run by charitable trusts. Maharashtra has 328 (the most), followed by Uttar Pradesh (294) and Tamil Nadu (291). On the other hand, 74 districts across 17 states do not have a single blood bank. Assam has 12 such districts, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Telangana, each with 10. To overcome these shortcomings, the government has planned to set up blood banks in 68 districts of the country to provide services in the rural hinterland. With the constant effort of government and other organizations to increase blood donations, there is a need for blood cell separators and other equipment in every blood banks to overcome the requirement of blood components which increases with incidences like a dengue outbreak. All this will lead to increase in the market for blood cell separators and centrifuges.
Centrifuges are the backbone of a blood-banking lab. It is vital that the centrifuges should be reliable and able to provide fully reproducible and traceable data with every spin. With downstream patient-safety implications, separation of whole blood into its components needs to be tightly regulated and should be in compliance with GMP.
Centrifuges featuring large capacity in compact footprint, glove friendly center touch-interface, automatic door opening and closing with auto door, and store lid functioning automatically with autolid are now available with remote monitoring and control systems. Password protection for multiuser environment, energy savings with eco-spin wind-shielded rotors, CFC-free refrigeration system with pre-cooling facility, maintenance free brushless induction motor, low-level of vibration, and noise with smooth acceleration and deceleration are some of the available upgrades of centrifuges for blood banks.
An option to open in case of power failure, easy loading and unloading facilities make them user friendly. Acceleration and deceleration time can be set as per user requirement. Provision of ACE function that corrects for variations in acceleration, centri-cross function that converts existing protocols, and connectivity for protocol tracking enrich the present day centrifuges. They are designed to meet production needs. Models accommodating large number and quantity of blood bags are at disposal in the market.
To a large extent, centrifuge providers have also eliminated a lot of the guesswork and streamlined their offerings through a combination of adaptability, ease of use, and vastly improved technology. For starters, providers are offering their main product ranges with all available rotors, attachments, and inserts under single part numbers to avoid costly and confusing a-la-carte shopping. With the exception of floor-model ultracentrifuges, units are typically designed to be plug-and-play, with little or no specialized knowledge required for immediate use.
Increased capacity and decreased negative space have reduced energy and size footprints, improving efficiency and savings over the long term. Additionally, material improvements to interchangeable parts have extended life spans and reduced the need for repair and maintenance contracts. For instance, the move from aluminum to carbon fiber rotors has diminished corrosion problems and allowed for longer warranties, and fast, foolproof rotor-swapping mechanisms have improved safety.
The centrifuge selected and centrifugation conditions facilitate time-saving work processes and enable optimum sample quality to be achieved. Temperature also has a significant effect on blood components during the separation process. The safety and efficiency of modern centrifuges will thus continue to improve with many manufacturers and suppliers seeking to reduce the time it takes for the device to reach the designated speed as well as reduce the time required to stop the centrifugation process with controlled temperature conditions. Moreover, with the increasing requirement of centrifuges, companies are introducing systems with new innovative products having advanced features. These advanced centrifuge systems or the new-generation centrifuges tend to overcome the problems related to the speed, efficiency, and volume faced when using the conventional centrifuge system. Increasing government initiatives for R&D and increasing advancement in clinical and medical fields to develop access to better healthcare will also play a key role in the development of new-generation centrifuges. The speed and dependency that modern centrifuges bring to the blood banks make them an invaluable technology to integrate automation.