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April 16, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Device to help cut blood waste

SHANGHAI blood authorities will promote wide use of a device that tests liver function quickly in order to reduce blood waste while also protecting both donors and recipients, officials said yesterday.

Previously, liver function testing was only done in laboratories on donated blood. About 10 percent of donated blood, especially samples collected at street side blood collecting vehicles, went to waste because they failed to pass the check.

Every blood sample is to be screened for a series of data, including Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), a liver enzyme that, when increased, may indicate liver disease.

"People with liver damage cannot donate blood, so samples with high ALT counts must be destroyed," said Shen Xingfeng, deputy director of the Shanghai Blood Center. "About 70 to 80 percent of our rejected blood samples had high ALT levels."

"It's not just a waste of blood but also a waste of government money as each unit (200 milliliters) costs 107 yuan (US$16.4) for equipment and manpower," he said.

To reduce the rejection rate, Shanghai adopted instant ALT tests at each blood collection spot. The test gives a result within 3 minutes. Trials in some districts have dropped the blood rejection rate to 2 to 3 percent, officials said.


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