HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The strictly regulated blood transfusion process is getting yet another enhancement at Hackensack University Medical Center .
HackensackUMC is the first hospital in the tri-state area to adopt the Intercept Blood System for platelets. In conjunction with Community Blood Services, platelet donations will undergo traditional infectious disease testing, in addition to pathogen reduction through the Intercept system.
Platelets are held for the first two days following donation pending the results of testing and then made available for the following three days. The newly FDA-approved Intercept system will make the transfusion process even safer from transmitted infections.
Intercept helps to inactivate a broad range of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites that -- although they are very rarely present in donated blood -- can provide complications, especially for patients with a weakened immune system.
"At HackensackUMC, we continually strive to keep our patients safe, and with the Intercept system, we have an added safety measure to prevent transmitted infections and prevent transfusion-related complications for platelet donation," said HackensackUMC President Dr. Ihor Sawczuk.
"This extra step in the transfusion process will provide additional peace of mind to our most vulnerable of patients diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders, who are already immunocompromised," said Dr. Kar Fai Chow, medical director of HackensackUMC's blood bank. "On the very rare instance that a pathogen is present in the donated blood, the Intercept system will inactivate that pathogen before it is received by the patient."
Platelets are the first line of defense to prevent and treat small blood vessel bleeding, the hospital noted, and platelet transfusion is an effective supportive therapy for patients with a low platelet count or non-functioning platelets due to a broad range of conditions, including cancer, chemotherapy or surgical procedures.
The targeting mechanism of the Intercept treatment is designed to inactivate established transfusion threats, including hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile virus and bacteria, as well as emerging pathogens such as Zika, Chikungunya, malaria and dengue.
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