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Round Afghanistan with a fridge
  1. Gareth Wild1,
  2. D Anderson2 and
  3. P Lund3
  1. 1Royal Navy, UK
  2. 2Biomedical Science Training Division, Defence School of Health Care Studies, Birmingham City University, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Pathology Office, HQ MDHU(North), Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Surg Cdr Gareth Wild RN, C/O J R Army Med Corps Editorial Office, RHQ, FASC, Slim Road, Camberley GU15 4NP, UK; ramcjournal{at}Hotmail.co.uk

Abstract

Introduction This paper covers the contemporary deployment of blood products in the pre–hospital environment during extended field operations in Afghanistan. The equipment used was standard–issue to the British Armed Forces but used in a novel manner. The aim of this paper was to establish the reliability of the RCB42P blood bank and the concept of blood storage in the field during protracted vehicle-borne patrols.

Method TempIT tag data was collected for five patrols and analysed. Ambient temperatures varied immensely from minus 5°C to plus 50°C. Mitigation measures were introduced to reduce the exposure of the blood bank to radiated and ambient heat.

Results The blood bank is affected by radiated heat from the engine compartment on long journeys coupled with high ambient temperatures. However, this can be minimised by simple mitigation measures using insulation and passive cooling.

Conclusions The RCB42P blood bank is a robust unit capable of enduring a considerable amount of physical abuse and extremes of temperature. It is suitable for the storage of blood products on protracted vehicle-borne patrols in high ambient temperatures if the mitigation measures outlined are employed.

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