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Buyer's Guide: Plasma Warmers
May 2018 - Vol. 7 No. 4 - Page #18

Plasma thawing is a relatively complex process when compared to warming procedures for other blood components. Fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and plasma frozen within 24 hours of phlebotomy (FP24) are stored at -18°C or below and depending on the type of technology used to warm the plasma, it can take up to 30 minutes to thaw to a proper temperature of 37°C. Thus, choosing the right combination of warming technology to satisfy your facility’s workload is essential.

Water-based warmers, which circulate warm water through a plastic attachment inserted next to the plasma bag rather than requiring the plasma bag to be submerged in the water bath, are widely used in blood banks and transfusion services today. Regardless of the instrumentation used to warm plasma to its proper temperature and then retain that temperature, such devices must be properly maintained. As such, plasma warmers are subject to the American Association of Blood Bank’s Standard 3.0.

Latest AABB Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services
MedicalLab Management recommends reviewing the latest edition of AABB’s Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services. Effective as of April 1, 2018, the 31st edition of this valuable set of standards provides the latest information on the proper use and maintenance of blood product equipment. Standard 3 - Equipment, further breaks down into Standards 3.1-3.9. Standard 3.8 addresses Warming Devices for Blood and Blood Components.


The CT-4T Plasma Thawer from CytoTherm uses a recirculating water temperature bath with patented rocking action to generate bursts of water flow that agitate both the water and the contents of the plasma bag. Combining these forces results in a much faster thawing time. The CT-4T comes with one corral that will thaw up to six plasma bags (450 mL) at a time. A second corral will allow thawing of six more plasma bags for a total of up to 12 plasma bags (450 mL) at a time. The operator never comes in contact with the water in the bath when handling the plasma bags. The corral keeps the entry ports of flat-frozen units out of the water, so an overwrap bag is not necessary. The unit comes with a clear evaporation lid and quick-connect drain system that efficiently empties the water bath for easy, convenient cleaning.

From CytoTherm
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QuickThaw Plasma Thawing Systems from Helmer Scientific use both controlled temperature and agitation to reduce thaw times while ensuring the safety of the plasma or cryoprecipitate. A range of sizes is available, including 2-bag, 4-bag, and 8-bag capacities. The DH4 and DH8 models have dual baskets with independent controls that accommodate a variety of bag configurations. The DH2 features a single basket and very compact footprint.

Rapid thawing times reduce the amount of plasma that must be thawed in advance, which can result in cost savings for the facility. In addition, the maximum versatility of the QuickThaw makes is suitable for thawing standard and jumbo apheresis bags, cryoprecipitate, and red blood cells.

From Helmer Scientific
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The Sahara line of instruments from Sarstedt automatically controls the warming and thawing of blood products using dry heat. Sahara instruments provide a consistent, standardized thawing and warming procedure to ensure a homogeneous temperature profile within the blood bag and to prevent damage to blood products. By providing an environment completely free of moisture, Sahara instruments help prevent contamination risks introduced by water-borne pathogens associated with water baths. Active drying of the blood bag surface also provides hygienic handling conditions.

The Sahara III has a warming plate for decreased thawing time of fresh frozen plasma; the Sahara Maxitherm has a double plate to increase capacity. For added versatility, conversion modules may be purchased to meet specific needs, and an optional protocol printer is available to assist with documentation requirements. Sahara instruments are easy to clean and require no routine maintenance.

From Sarstedt
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The Plasmatherm dry thawing system from GenesisBPS provides an alternative to open water baths and is designed for use in cleanroom environments and cell therapy applications. The Plasmatherm provides a solution for hospital blood banks and cellular therapy departments to thaw and warm fluids contained in bags or bottles. Its closed circulating system ensures that products never come into direct contact with water. Designed for continuous operation, the device maintains a constant temperature of 37˚C as required by the FDA and AABB.

The Plasmatherm offers leak detection sensors with audible and visual alarms, two over-temperature alarms, and automatic shut-off. Custom settings allow users to modify thawing time, agitation, and temperature parameters. A corrosion resistant heating chamber and rounded edges make the Plasmatherm easy to clean and maintain. Accessories include data capture bar code scanner and printer, recording date, time, maximum temperature, duration, product ID, and operator ID.

From Genesis BPS
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The CT-4S Plasma Thawer from CytoTherm is a compact laboratory instrument that uses a water temperature bath with recirculating pump and a patented sliding action to agitate both the water in the bath and the thawing plasma inside of the plasma bag for faster thawing. The CT-4S comes with a rack that will thaw one to four plasma bags (up to 600 mL) at a time. The operator never comes in contact with the water in the bath when handling the plasma bags, and the rack keeps the plasma bag ports of flat-frozen plasma bags out of the water so an overwrap bag is not necessary. The limited amount of water necessary for operation allows the compact CT-4S to come up to temperature quickly and an integrated, back-lit display indicates the temperature and counts down the thawing time.

From CytoTherm
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