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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


OKNAIAN, Sebastián; REMESAR, Mirta; FERRARO, Laura  and  POZO, Ana Emilia del. External performance evaluation of screening in blood banks in Argentina: results and strategies for improvement. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.13, n.2-3, pp.149-153. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: Because there was no program for the external evaluation of the quality of the screening for transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs) in blood banks in Argentina, in 1999 the Hemotherapy Service of Garrahan Hospital, in Buenos Aires, launched an ongoing external evaluation program, with the support of the Pan American Health Organization and the Argentine Hemotherapy and Immunohematology Association. METHODS: A panel of 12 samples that were reactive to all the markers screened for in Argentine blood banks was distributed. The panel was delivered to 52 laboratories in 1999, 102 laboratories in 2000, and 118 laboratories in 2001. The participating laboratories were classified into one of four categories according to their performance: A: 0 or 1 false positive (FP) results; B: 2 or 3 FPs; C: 4 or more FPs; and D: at least 1 false negative result. Workshops were held with the participants in order to jointly analyze the results. RESULTS: Out of the laboratories that received the panel of samples, the percentage of laboratories that sent in their results was 92.3% in 1999, 92.2% in 2000, and 83.9% in 2001. These response levels demonstrate the interest in evaluation activities. However, the annual average percentage of the laboratories that received a "D" classification was very high (30%), which indicates that there are problems in the performance of TTI screening. This poor showing could be related to the difficulty in taking corrective measures throughout the system, given the large number of laboratories involved. CONCLUSIONS: Evaluations of this type should be included in Argentina's National Blood Program as a tool for the ongoing assessment of the blood banking situation, for decision-making, and for monitoring the quality of screening.

Keywords : Evaluación externa de la calidad; bancos de sangre; inmunohematología; Argentina; transfusión sanguínea.

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