Pharmaceutical Industry Today

Timestrip cold chain monitoring of blood products is a life saver

Precious bloodbank stocks are being preserved by better cold chain temperature monitoring, with the application of TimestripPlus temperature sensitive labels.
Published 30 June 2011

Precious bloodbank stocks are being preserved by better cold chain temperature monitoring, with the application of TimestripPlus temperature sensitive labels. The indicators show clearly and accurately breaches in temperature ranges and the length of time any excursions occur when blood stocks are moved back and forth between storage an operating theatres. The results are saving lives.

The Queen Astrid Military Hospital in Neder-Over-Heembeek is a leading healthcare provider in Belgium, offering general hospital services as well as a specialist Burns Unit and a Bloodbank.

Blood collected from members of the public and active military personnel is immediately cooled to a temperature of +4oc, labelled and then stored in regulated and digitally monitored refrigerators, awaiting use. Blood plasma is stored at -80oc and blood platelets are stored at +22oc.

Historically, blood that has been requested by the Operating teams is transported in cool boxes to the Operating Theatre where it is warmed up in the event that it is required. If the blood is not required then it is returned to the Bloodbank for re-storage.

The Bloodbank was concerned that from the moment that blood bags are sent to the Operating Theatre there is no active system in place to monitor the temperature experienced by the bags which are, out of necessity, removed from the cool boxes for labelling, checking, and in preparation for use. For this reason they could not guarantee that the cold chain had been maintained at all times.

Timestrip's distributor in Belgium, Innolabel, were approached to propose ways in which it could help monitor temperature threshold excursions and provide feedback to personnel to help them decide whether a bag has been stored within the protocol guidelines.

This collaboration resulted in trials using the industry leading Timestrip Plus ascending threshold indicator, which were attached to the blood bags.

In the first trial, bags were sent to the Operating Theatre. In accordance with standard procedures, two bags are attached to the infusion holder, one actively coupled to the IV line, the other as a backup. In cases where the backup bag was not required it was returned to the Bloodbank. The Timestrip Plus was examined and it revealed that the bag had, in fact, experienced at least 6 hours above the maximum threshold temperature and therefore had to be destroyed. In the absence of the Timestrip Plus indicator this bag may have been returned to storage, regardless of its condition.

In another trial, blood bags were returned unused to the Bloodbank by the hospital's Emergency Department. The Timestrip Plus was used to confirm that the bag had not experienced a breach of temperature threshold protocol and could therefore be stored for re-use at a later stage.

"Before the introduction of TimestripPlus we simply did not have this level of information available to us…" Christian Vandenvelde, Head of the Military Department for Blood Transfusion.

"Thanks to the Timestrip Plus we noticed that there was a limited temperature breach during the labelling of the blood bags." says France T'Sas, Lieutenant, Doctor in Biomedical Sciences. "It is also a fact that blood bags warm up more quickly than they cool down, so this was a very important observation in the complete process. Using the Timestrip Plus we have adapted and accelerated our process, eliminating the temperature breach. The Timestrip Plus labels are very user-friendly, precise and easily readable for everyone without additional explanation."

Christian Vandenvelde: "Now that we have conducted in-use tests with the Timestrip Plus we will also apply these indicators for other temperature ranges and on blood platelets and plasma, where there is also the need for continual temperature control. The cost of the Timestrip Plus is negligible compared to the value of the bag. Also, blood is such a precious product that any method to optimise and secure our processes need to be considered - it saves lives!"

About Timestrip

We are a global business making technologically advanced, low-cost 'smart' indicators that monitor elapsed time and/or temperature changes.

Timestrip's patented elapsed time indicators are activated by finger pressure. This triggers the migration of a specially formulated dye along a membrane structure. These indicators can be customised to show elapsed time from minutes to 18 months.

For products where replacement dates are critical to performance, Timestrip's clear and accurate identification of elapsed time deliver a cost-effective USP; one that can improve the rate of sale and build consumer confidence in your brand.

Our advanced range of cold chain temperature monitoring indicators are triggered by breaches of acceptable temperature ranges. As important, they can show the duration of that temperature breach, and are completely inert prior to activation.

These industry leading indicators are transforming the supply chain monitoring processes used by global businesses in food service, cold chain and pharmaceutical distribution.

Timestrip temperature indicator labels can be supplied loose for 'peel-and-stick' applications or engineered into the physical characteristics of a consumer product.

As a result, Timestrip indicators can help reduce wastage, monitor component lifetimes, deliver quality assurances, improve sales and grow your market-share.

Timestrip works with some of the world's most successful companies and consumer brands including 3M, Whirlpool, Siemens, Tesco - as well as the UK's National Health Service.

For more information about this release please contact Timestrip CEO Reuben Isbitsky at or visit

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