ThedaCare Receives New Platelet Product

Technology Treats Platelets to Reduce Transfusion-Transmitted Infections  

ThedaCare hospitals are the first to use a new service of The Community Blood Center to deliver Pathogen Reduced Platelets.  

“We are excited about this new feature of platelets they will provide for us, which increases the safety of patients undergoing transfusions,” said Ray Georgen, MD, medical director of trauma at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah.  

According to The Community Blood Center, the revolutionary processing technology treats platelets to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections by inactivating a broad range of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites that may be present in donated blood.  

Platelets, which are the clotting components of blood, are commonly relied upon by patients undergoing cancer treatments or major operations, such as transplants or open heart surgeries. “Pathogen Reduced Platelets are blood components in which a broad spectrum of clinically relevant pathogens and leukocytes have been inactivated,” said Dr. Todd Straus, Chief Medical Officer & Vice President, Quality & Medical services at The Community Blood Center. “This means we can reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections and transfusion-associated diseases.”  

Jesse Lloyd, MD, pathologist at ThedaCare, said prior to transfusion, platelets are stored at room temperature. “This creates a favorable growth for bacteria and therefore presents the greatest risk for transfusion-related sepsis,” he said.  “Currently, platelets are cultured prior to release from the Blood Center in an effort to identify potentially contaminated products.”  

The new product offers a safe alternative, said Dr. Lloyd. “This technology uses a compound that binds DNA and RNA which then inactivates it upon exposure to ultraviolet light,” he said. “This not only reduces the risk of bacterial contamination, but also inactivates other transmissible diseases including, HIV, hepatitis C and others.  In addition, this product is equivalent to CMV negative and irradiated products required for some cancer patients.”  

The Community Blood Center works hard to provide donated blood and platelets, said Nicholas Augelli, MD, cardiac surgeon, ThedaCare Cardiovascular Care in Appleton. Making those safe for patients is vital to their health and recovery after surgery or injuries. “We are thankful for the service The Community Blood Center provides us daily,” he said.  “It is with their products and their innovative efforts ongoing that allows us to deliver quality, safe, and effective care to our patients in need at ThedaCare.” Currently available in a limited capacity, The Community Blood Center made its first distribution of Pathogen Reduced Platelets with ThedaCare and plans to expand the offering to more area hospitals in the future.  

“We are dependent on The Community Blood Center for blood products for traumatically injured individuals,” said Dr. Georgen. “The potential for extreme blood loss and the requirement of massive transfusions are potentially a daily issue. Fortunately, The Community Blood Center has been able to meet the needs of the community.”  

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 34 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.  ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton opened in February. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.