Frozen for combat: Quality of deep-frozen thrombocytes, produced and used by The Netherlands Armed Forces 2001–2021

Femke Noorman, Tim W.H. Rijnhout*, Bob de Kort, Rigo Hoencamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: The Netherlands Armed Forces (NLAF) are using −80°C deep-frozen thrombocyte concentrate (DTC) since 2001. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of storage duration and alterations in production/measurement techniques on DTC quality. It is expected that DTC quality is unaffected by storage duration and in compliance with the European guidelines for fresh and cryopreserved platelets. Study Design and Methods: Pre-freeze and post-thaw product platelet content and recovery were collected to analyze the effects of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) type, duration of frozen storage (DMSO-1 max 12 years and DMSO-2 frozen DTC max 4 years at −80°C) and type of plasma used to suspend DTC. Coagulation characteristics of thawed DTC, plasma and supernatant of DTC (2× 2500 G) were measured with Kaolin thromboelastography (TEG) and phospholipid (PPL) activity assay. Results: Platelet content and recovery of DTC is ±10%–15% lower in short-stored products and remained stable when stored beyond 0.5 years. Thawed DTC (n = 1724) were compliant to the European guidelines (98.1% post-thaw product recovery ≥50% from original product, 98.3% ≥200 × 109 platelets/unit). Compared to DMSO-1, products frozen with DMSO-2 showed ±8% reduced thaw–freeze recovery, a higher TEG clot strength (MA 58 [6] vs. 64 [8] mm) and same ±11 s PPL clotting time. The use of cold-stored thawed plasma instead of fresh thawed plasma did not influence product recovery or TEG-MA. Discussion: Regardless of alterations, product quality was in compliance with European guidelines and unaffected by storage duration up to 12 years of −80°C frozen storage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date1 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank all technicians that have worked at the MBB and/or during military operations between 2001 and 2021 for their contribution to the data presented in this publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Transfusion published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of AABB.


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