Background and Objectives: New technological developments make it possible to collect red blood cells (RBCs) by apheresis, which allows for better product consistency and has the potential for improved RBC quality. The purpose of these studies was to evaluate the quality and consistency of units of RBCs collected by apheresis using the MCS+® machine (Haemonetics Corp., Braintree, Mass., USA). Materials and Methods: Two studies were performed. In study 1 (n = 10), using containers and CP2D/AS-3 solutions from Medsep Corp. (Covina, Calif. USA), one-unit apheresis RBCs were compared to manually collected RBCs in a random crossover design. In study 2 (n = 12), 6 subjects had one unit collected, while the remaining 6 subjects had two units of RBCs collected with comparison to previously manually collected RBCs from the same donors. Haemonetics containers and solutions were used in study 2. Results: Low RBC volume variability was found for the apheresis collections with a standard deviation of only 6 ml difference between actual and target volumes. Combining the data from the two studies (n = 21 pairs), at 42 days of storage, the apheresis units showed slightly lower hemolysis (0.44±0.26 vs. 0.61±0.50%), lower supernatant potassium levels (50±3 vs. 53±3 mEq/l), and improved tolerance to osmotic shock (47±3 vs. 49±3%) as compared to manual units (p < 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference in RBC ATP (3.0±0.6 vs. 2.9±0.5 μmol/g Hb) or in 24-hour percent recoveries (81±6 for apheresis vs. 81±4% for apheresis red cells). Apheresis RBC quality was not affected by the manufacturer (Haemonetics vs. Medsep) of solutions and containers. Conclusions: RBC units collected by apheresis demonstrated low variability in volume of RBC mass collected, and showed similar RBC properties as compared to manually collected RBCs after processing and after 42 days of storage.

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