Immunohematology Reference Lab

Hoxworth Blood Center's Immunohematology Reference Laboratory (IRL) provides testing and consultation to assist hospitals in solving patients' red blood cell (RBC) serological problems. The IRL provides rare (antigen matched) blood by maintaining local liquid and frozen rare blood inventories and by participating in the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), a national search service. The IRL is an AABB and CLIA accredited Immunohematology Reference Laboratory (IRL). CLIA # 36D0346846.

Laboratory Hours: The lab is staffed 24 hours, 5 days a week from Sunday at 11:00 p.m. through Friday, at midnight. Friday midnight through Sunday at 11:00 p.m. on-call staff are available to provide laboratory testing services and confirmed typed RBC units for STAT requests and to provide historical antigen negative (non-confirm typed) RBC units.

Service Offered

The IRL staff is always available as a resource for questions regarding difficult serological and hematological care.

Below is a list of available tests and services that can be requested. All IRL testing requires completion of test requisition. Click here to complete the IRL Consultation Request Form on BloodHub.

  • Red Cell Antibody Investigations
    • Single to Complex Multiple Antibodies
    • Auto-antibodies
    • Drug-dependent Antibodies
    • Antibodies to High- and Low-Incidence Antigens
    • Reagent-dependent Reactivity
  • Molecular genotype investigations, RhD zygosity, testing for variant antigens
  • Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn Investigations
  • Transfusion Reaction Investigations
  • Aberrant or Discrepant Result Investigations
  • Polyagglutination Investigations
  • Donor/ Patient Red Cell Phenotype Requests
  • Platelet crossmatching for refractory patients
  • Prenatal evaluations including titers
  • Procurement of Antigen-Negative Donor Units
  • Procurement of IgA Deficient Plasma (from ARDP)

Routine testing performed by IRL uses in-date FDA licensed reagents and kits when available. Non-licensed reagents may be used in complex evaluations when licensed reagents are not available. Suitable controls are tested when using non-licensed reagents.

Sample Requirements
Optimal sample size for red cell serological workups: 30 mL EDTA anticoagulated whole blood. See Sample Requirements for IRL Testing from the BloodHub dashboard screen.

Turnaround Times (TAT)
Depending on the complexity of the work up and the request status, turn around times will vary. The following guidelines are used by the IRL:

Turnaround Times
(Life Threatening)
8 hours from time of sample receipt
(Transfusion Needed but not Life Threatening)
24 hours from time of sample receipt
Routine 1-5 days from time of sample receipt

Turnaround time listed above is from the time the sample is received in the testing laboratory. The time frames listed above are guidelines. TAT may vary by the complexity and extent of the serological problem.

All tests for consultation services, as well as antigen-negative blood requests must be entered into Blood Hub. Check with your blood bank supervisor for more information.

Guidelines for Emergency Status

The following questions are designed to help identify referrals for immunohematologic resolution that should be elevated to an emergency (STAT) workup.

  1. Patient's clinical symptoms:
    a. High output failure: heart failure, rapid pulse with insufficient O2 delivery.
    b. Angina: coronary artery disease with persistent decrease in O2 delivery to myocardial muscle.
    c. Impending stroke: cerebral vascular disease with persistent decrease in O2 delivery to cerebrum.
  2. Is the patient actively bleeding? Yes / No Note: a rapid drop in hemoglobin (> 1 gm/dL / 24 hours) places the patient at risk.
  3. Does the patient require surgery during the next 24 hours? Yes / No
  4. Are all units incompatible? Yes / No

Emergency status should be considered for those patients who:

Suffer any of the symptoms listed in #1. OR
Have a "yes" answer to question 2.  OR
Have a "yes" answer to questions 3 and 4.

Turn around time for reporting results on a STAT request is, generally, within eight hours of sample receipt. Please remember to complete, as thoroughly as possible, the IRL Consultation Request Form from the BloodHub website and contact Hoxworth Blood Center IRL personnel before sending samples.

Reporting and Billing

Preliminary reports (prior to final review) will be phoned at completion of workup.

Final reports will be uploaded to the order on BloodHub after final review has been completed.

A billing invoice will be forwarded to your facility by Hoxworth Blood Center Financial Services. The submitting facility is responsible for all charges and/or fees related to the resolution of the patient's serologic problem and provision of RBC units.

Lab Contact Numbers:

Laboratory Phone: (513) 558-1547

On-Call Phone: (513) 558-1539 (request IRL Tech paged)

Fax Number: (513) 558-1533

Immunohematology Contact:

Janie Wittenberg, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM
Manager, Immunohematology Reference Lab
Phone: (513) 558-1547

Assistant Director, Laboratories (IRL and QC Lab)
Phone: (513) 558-1588

Division Director, Laboratories
Phone: (513) 558-1549

Judith Gonzalez, BS, MT(ASCP),CLS
Chief Blood Operations Officer
Phone: (513) 558-5397

David Oh, MD
Medical Director
Phone: (513) 558-1338