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An optical method to assess platelet viability in platelet transfusion concentrates has been developed which is based on the observation that healthy, discoid platelets transmit more light in shear flow than aged, spherical cells. Using a specially designed glass channel, the rise in transmission of light through platelet samples with agitation is referenced against a measurement of transmission without flow. Referencing the measurements may minimize the effects of red blood cell contamination, as well as other variations among platelet packs such as plasma characteristics and plastic container variability. At an optimal frequency of agitation, the ratio of the transmission of light with agitation to that of the sample at rest is found to correlate highly with the concentration of discoid platelets, r = 0.92 to 0.95 (P less than 0.001), for light sources including a HeNe laser and two LEDs. Using this index, the discoid platelet counts of twelve platelet packs are estimated and compared with manual counts. The mean difference between the two methods was 0.009 x 10(9) discoid platelets ml-1 with a standard deviation of 0.11 x 10(9) cells ml-1. We conclude that the method may be applied to the development of a non-invasive device to monitor the concentration of viable, discoid platelets in storage.


Journal article


J Biomed Eng

Publication Date





27 - 32


Blood Platelets, Cell Survival, Cellular Senescence, Erythrocytes, Humans, Lasers, Platelet Count, Plateletpheresis, Quality Control, Transillumination