Non?invasive monitoring of red blood cells during cold storage using handheld Raman spectroscopy


The current best practices allow for the red blood cells (RBCs) to be stored for prolonged periods in blood banks worldwide. However, due to the individual-related variability in donated blood and RBCs continual degradation within transfusion bags, the quality of stored blood varies considerably. There is currently no method for assessing the blood product quality without compromising the sterility of the unit. This study demonstrates the feasibility of monitoring storage lesion of RBCs in situ while maintaining sterility using an optical approach.

Study design and methods

A handheld spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (RS) device was employed to non-invasively monitor hemolysis and metabolic changes in 12 red cell concentrate (RCC) units within standard sealed transfusion bags over 7?weeks of cold storage. The donated blood was analyzed in parallel by biochemical (chemical analysis, spectrophotometry, hematology analysis) and RS measurements, which were then correlated through multisource correlation analysis.


Raman bands of lactate (857?cm?1), glucose (787?cm?1), and hemolysis (1003?cm?1) were found to correlate strongly with bioanalytical data over the length of storage, with correlation values 0.98 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.86–1.00; p = .0001), 0.95 (95% CI: 0.71–0.99; p = .0008) and 0.97 (95% CI: 0.79–1.00; p = .0004) respectively.


This study demonstrates the potential of collecting information on the clinical quality of blood units without breaching the sterility using Raman technology. This could significantly benefit quality control of RCC units, patient safety and inventory management in blood banks and hospitals.