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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989


BELTRAN DURAN, Mauricio  and  AYALA GUZMAN, Maribel. External evaluation of serology results in blood banks in Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.13, n.2-3, pp. 138-142. ISSN 1020-4989.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the serological results found in Colombian blood banks that participate in the external quality program (EQP) of that country's National Institute of Health, in order to improve the quality of the screening of blood for the main serological markers of transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases. METHODS: Each blood bank received a panel of six sera with different reactivity and positivity to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), as well as to antibodies to HIV 1-2, Trypanosoma cruzi (the causative agent of Chagas' disease), Treponema pallidum (the causative agent of syphilis), hepatitis B core (HBc) antigen, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV). The screening techniques used were enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), microparticle enzyme immunoassay (MEIA), and hemagglutination. With the panel sera, the participating blood banks were asked to apply the same tests that they use on a daily basis to screen blood units and to send their results to the National Blood Banks Unit of the Colombian National Institute of Health. RESULTS: Of the 46 blood banks participating in the EQP, 43 of them (93%) returned their results within the requested timeframe. The ELISA test was the one that was used most often (83.0%). There were a total of 49 (5%) false positive results and 12 (3%) false negative results. Of those 12 false negative results, 6 of them corresponded to the detection of syphilis, 2 to Chagas' disease, 2 to anti-HBc antibodies, 1 to anti-HCV antibodies, and 1 to HBsAg. Eighty percent of the discordant results came from 23 blood banks that each collected fewer than 6 000 units of blood per year, and 15% came from 5 blood banks that collected 6 000 to 12 000 units per year. One of the blood banks that collected more than 12 000 units annually had three false positive results, and none of those larger blood banks had any false positive results. CONCLUSIONS: The percentage of false negative results (3%) found during the EQP can be considered high, since tests that are negative during blood screening are not repeated, and the decision to declare a unit of blood suitable for transfusion is based on that single result. There is a need to thoroughly review the procedures for screening blood in Colombia, particularly at the centers that performed poorly in this EQP exercise.

Keywords : Control de calidad; tamizaje; bancos de sangre.

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