Transfusing a granulocyte after the unit has expired

Hospital clinicians should discuss with the on call NHSBT consultant

31 March 2023

If a unit is expiring at midnight, and a granulocyte transfusion cannot be completed before then, hospital clinicians should first discuss with the on call NHSBT Haematology Consultant, before deciding if the unit should be transfused or discarded, as outlined in the clinical guidelines for the use of granulocyte transfusions (PDF 749KB):

4.6 Granulocytes expire at midnight the day following donation. The short expiry is on account of granulocyte activity (as opposed to concerns around bacterial contamination). Due to testing and manufacturing requirements, the component usually arrives in the hospital blood bank in the evening of the day of transfusion. If there is inability to complete the transfusion prior to midnight, the clinicians caring for the patient should discuss with the NHSBT consultant on call to review whether the risks and benefits are in favour of transfusing a short time past expiry, or of discarding the component.

For contact details of the consultant telephone your Hospital Services department.

Delia Smith - Customer Service Manager, Hospital Customer Services