Blood collection for transfusion in hospitals and research laboratories follows a complex process of breaking whole blood down into its different components, namely, red blood cell extract, plasma, and platelets. After collection, these blood products must all undergo preservation procedures that ensure they can still be of use after being transported from place to place. Particularly, the key to preserving the in vivo viability of platelets is maintaining its pH levels above 6.2 (Naghadeh et al., 2013). Platelet concentrates must, therefore, be stored in platelet agitators or incubators, which are devices that provide continuous horizontal motion at specific temperature levels. In this way, the viability of platelets is preserved.
The platelet incubator is a device that provides accurate and steady storage conditions for platelet concentrates. It provides horizontal or vertical agitation at temperatures of 20 to 24 degrees Celsius, which guarantees that no clumps of platelet concentrates are formed during storage and transportation. Also, the important operational factors in platelet agitators and incubators are the number of strokes per minute at ideally 65 to 75, as well as the amplitude of each stroke at a recommended 3.6 to 4.0 cm (World Health Organization). Additionally, the apparatus also offers an organized inventory management system for keeping track of platelet inventories, especially regarding their expiration dates.
It can, therefore, be said that the platelet incubator is the primary instrument used in ensuring the proper storage of platelet concentrates for transfusion. It is a modern device that operates on the simply-stated scientific principle of maintaining pH levels through temperature control and constant agitation of material. Without its invention, maintaining the viability of platelet concentrates may be considered a much more challenging and time-consuming operation.