Monitoring Blood Temperature In Transit


Monitoring Blood Temperature In Transit

The transport of blood has always been a vital part of our healthcare infrastructure, however in the current pandemic scenario, it is more valuable than ever before. This means that monitoring blood temperature in transit will play a pivotal role in preventing the waste of crucial resources due to issues such as temperature damage.

The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), alongside the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), have recently announced their intentions to trial plasma treatment as a means of treating coronavirus patients. This will require them to collect blood samples from Covid-19 survivors, as the antibodies created by their immune system (present in blood plasma) could be used for life-saving transfusions.

Increasing the number of antibodies in the blood of Covid-19 patients could lead to a faster recovery, and in some cases may even increase their chances of survival. A small study in China, carried out in March, found that a single dose of antibodies from the blood of Covid-19 survivors may have improved the symptoms of 10 severely ill patients. These are promising results, and a treatment we are hoping to emulate in the UK – with the US following suit.

However, in order to be beneficial, this blood will need to get to it’s destination; whether this means simply from storage to the ward, or from a blood bank to a hospital or lab. Monitoring blood temperature throughout transit is not only necessary for auditing purposes, but also required to simply keep the blood safe for use. Prone to temperature damage, Blood Safety and Quality Regulations recommends that “red cell preparations and whole blood should be kept between +2°C to +6°C” during transit. Breaches of this temperature limit will result in the blood’s disposal, wasting what is currently considered critically limited stock.

There are many options for monitoring blood temperature in transit, and Hanwell provides solutions for all budgets. We’ve put together a list of the pros and cons of various options, in order to provide organisations within the healthcare sector with a comprehensive guide to blood temperature monitoring.

Temperature Indicators

Temperature indicators are easy-to-apply stickers that change colour upon entering an unacceptable temperature range. They are quick to read at a glance, do not require electronics, and are one-time use.

  • The cheapest option
  • Instant indication with a clear binary yes/no result
  • Single-use
  • Tamper-proof
  • Easy-to-apply adhesive backing
  • Available in rolls – allows for rapid application if needed
  • Can be shipped and stored under most conditions
  • Track bags individually – serialised to help track internal handling and chain of custody

Data Loggers

A data logger is an electronic instrument (usually battery powered) that monitors an environment over time and automatically logs data within its internal memory. If the logger has an LCD screen it can also display live data readings. Data is extracted manually after transit, usually via a USB connection to a PC. Measures the blood temperature via the environment it is being kept in.

  • Larger temperature range
  • High accuracy sensors
  • Provides a full record of temperature and breaches throughout journey
  • Full records relieve the pressure of audits
  • Unlike an indicator, can track multiple breaches
  • Detects when and where damage could have occurred, with date and time stamped records
  • Provides consistent record keeping, without gaps
  • Automated reports, that can be downloaded via USB
  • No danger of human error

Wireless Systems

Wireless systems are able to track temperature data from multiple sensors and locations at a time. After transit, transmitters will immediately and automatically download data without the need for a manual download. Hanwell systems in particular benefit from our feature-rich software known as EMS, which displays live data 24/7, and will send immediate alerts and alarm notifications upon registering a blood temperature breach, giving you time to fix the problem.

  • Combines the benefits of indicators and data loggers
  • Widest temperature range
  • Live data recording
  • Centralised system – many hospitals already use Hanwell EMS
  • Access critical information on your local PC, via the company intranet or network and via the internet
  • Helps to follow FDA, HACCP, and MHRA regulations.


GPRS Transmitters are an alternative form of wireless system. They require a SIM card and use a mobile data service in order to transmit data from remote locations. Perfect for long trips and isolated locations without internet access, which are sometimes miles away from the main base system, or on route to another destination.

  • Remote locations, miles away from base
  • Long range GPRS transmitter
  • Self-contained (battery operated)
  • Options such as the new iSense also benefit from EMS


Additionally, Hanwell has been using our temperature indicators in order to help monitor Covid-19 test samples, which you can learn about here. For more information about monitoring blood temperature in transit, contact us today.


Manufactured by Hanwell | Ellab