Bloodworks Northwest Laboratories
Immunohematology Reference Laboratory (IRL)
The Immunohematology Reference Laboratory (formerly the Red Cell Reference Laboratory) has served the Pacific Northwest as a regional reference laboratory for over 30 years.
Routine red blood cell antibody identification and red blood cell antigen typing are performed using standard serologic techniques. Resolution of more complex antibody problems may require the use of advanced serologic or genomic procedures.
More than 10,000 tests are performed annually. As outlined in this directory, the IRL performs both individual tests and profiles that are involved in:
- Identification of red blood cell alloantibodies in individuals previously sensitized through transfusion or pregnancy, and selection of blood for transfusion management of such patients;
- Prevention of Rh (D) alloimmunization during pregnancy as well as guidance of prenatal and postnatal management of hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN), weak D genomic testing;
- Evaluation of suspected hemolytic transfusion reactions;
- Diagnosis and transfusion management of patients with autoantibodies, positive direct Coombs testing and autoimmune hemolytic anemia; and
- Compatibility testing and antibody titration studies for potential donor/recipients of progenitor cells, bone marrow and solid organ transplants.
- RBC genotyping for extended blood group typing for patients in need of chronic transfusion, discrepant serology testing and blood group variation, especially Rh. In addition to serologic testing, the IRL Laboratory staff maintains and coordinates a frozen red blood cell program. The frozen red blood cell inventory consists of rare antigen negative units that are a source of compatible units for specific patients who have red cell alloantibodies against high-frequency antigens or multiple antigens.
The IRL is supervised by Lay See Er. The laboratory is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days a week with technical staff who are specially trained in advanced immunohematology techniques and procedures. Questions regarding specific tests or sample requirements can be answered by calling the laboratory at 206-689-6534.
In addition, Dr. Nester is available for questions regarding the interpretation of laboratory results as well as medical consultation. There is a transfusion medicine physician on call 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.