FAQs

Technical FAQs

1

How do I access the databases and other documents available only to registered facilities?

2

Where do I find the Product Description Codes that I need?

3

How do I obtain a new Product Description Code?

4

What is a local use code?

5

We are doing research on new blood components. How do I get a Product Description Code for these products?

6

How do I label intraoperatively collected autologous blood?

7

Is the use of the check character during keyboard entry of the Donation Identification Number required every time I type it in?

8

I heard there are "flags" used in the Donation Identification Number. What do you mean by flags, and do I need to use the them?

9

Where can I find ISBT 128 labels for validation?

10

Is the use of concatenation required?

11

We are having difficulty getting our scanner to read concatenated ISBT 128 bar codes. What can I do?

12

Can ISBT 128 be used with 2-D bar codes or RFID tags?

13

Can I use ISBT 128 bar codes to label a Red Cell product as antigen-negative based on historical antigen testing of the donor?

   

Technical Frequently Asked Questions

1

How do I access the databases and other documents available only to registered facilities?

 

The Product Description Codes Database and documents are located in the Tech Library section of the website. The database and some documents are only accessible to registered users whose facilities are current on their registration and annual licensing fees.

 

2

Where do I find the Product Description Codes that I need?

 

ICCBBA has posted the Product Description Codes on the website in the Product Description Codes Database section. Registered and licensed facilities can download the Product Description Codes so long as they are current with their licensing requirements. Another useful tool in determining which Product Description Code you need is the Product Description Code Lookup Program.

The Product Description Codes Database is updated approximately 10 times per year. It is essential to update your copy regularly to have the most current information regarding ISBT 128 Product Description Codes. You can subscribe to ICCBBA's mailing list to be notified of updates via email.

 

3

How do I obtain a new Product Description Code?

 

To request a new Product Description Code that is not already in the database (and can be described sufficiently with current ISBT 128 terminology), a product request form can be submitted. 

Request forms for Product Description Codes can be found on the website, and must be completed and submitted online. There are different forms for – blood, cellular therapy, ocular, organ transplant, reproductive, tissue, fecal microbiota, in vivo diagnostic MPHO, human milk, plasma derivative, and topical – products. These forms can be found in the Subject Area section of the website:

For further information on how to obtain a new Product Description Code, click here.

 

4

What is a local use code? 

 

Local use codes are primarily used for “boutique” or research products. They are also used for in-process products that a system may require to track.

Local codes are defined and maintained by the facility – ICCBBA does not maintain or keep track of these codes. Codes A0000 through D9999 are reserved for local use. These codes should ONLY be used where there is not an appropriate international code, and when there is good reason why an international code should not be allocated.

If there is any uncertainty whether the code assigned to a product should be – internationally or locally/nationally/regionally – defined, please contact the ICCBBA office.

 

5

We are doing research on new blood components. How do I get a Product Description Code for these products?

 

ISBT 128 permits any facility (licensed with ICCBBA) to assign a "local code" to products in development. These codes should be made known to blood centers doing the research, and any facility or facilities using the new products in clinical trials, etc. Outside of this group, these codes may have a different meaning. See the ST-001 ISBT 128 Standard Technical Specification for details.

 

6

How do I label intraoperatively collected autologous blood?

 

If the products will be stored in the laboratory, a local code (first letter A-D) should be used. For example, A0001 could be "Intraoperative Washed Red Blood Cells". Other labeling should follow national requirements.

 

7

Is the use of the check character during keyboard entry of the Donation Identification Number required every time I type it in?

 

The check character feature is calculated based on the ISO modulo 37-2 method. Its use is not required, but is strongly encouraged every time you have keyboard entry of your Donation Identification Number (DIN). Your computer system software should be designed to recognize keyboard entry of the DIN and to require verification of the entry via the check character. This will ensure the accuracy of the keyboard data entry, minimizing transcription and transposition errors.

Although its use is optional, the printing of the check character next to the DIN is required. The printing of the check character is also required for other data structures (e.g., Special Testing: Red Blood Cell Antigens – General, Donor Identification Number, etc.). 

 

8

I heard there are "flags" used in the Donation Identification Number. What do you mean by flags, and do I need to use them?

 

Flags are part of the Donation Identification Number (DIN), and are unique identifiers that can be used to facilitate the control of various processes in a blood center. For example, different sample tubes can be “flagged” to ensure that the correct tube is used for a specific test procedure. The decision to use the flags is voluntary and will not interfere with shipments of blood products from one facility to another.

For examples of the use of flag characters, see IG-010 Technical Bulletin 7: Use of Flags in the Donation Identification Number for Process Control of Critical Points During Processing and Distribution.

 

9

Where can I find ISBT 128 labels for validation?

 

Sample bar codes (both valid and invalid) that can be used for validation purposes may be found on the ICCBBA website in IG-013 Technical Bulletin 10: Valid and Invalid Bar Codes for use in ISBT 128 Validations.

 

10

Is the use of concatenation required?

 

Concatenation is a method by which the information held in two bar codes is combined in the scanner into a single string of data before being sent to the host computer. The use of concatenation is encouraged but not required. When set up properly, concatenation can be a powerful process control tool used to ensure information is scanned from the same product label. 

 

11

We are having difficulty getting our scanner to read concatenated ISBT 128 bar codes. What can I do?

 

The user’s manual for your bar code scanner should have the information you need (in the form of bar codes) to turn on and off the different types of bar code symbologies and concatenation features. It is recommended that you turn off all other symbologies that are not being used. You may need to contact your bar code scanner supplier if you require additional assistance. 

 

12

Can ISBT 128 be used with 2-D bar codes or RFID tags?

 

ISBT 128 data structures can be delivered using a number of different technologies including Code 128 bar codes, two-dimensional (2-D) bar codes, Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) bar codes, wireless radio frequency identification transponders (RFID tags), and EDI messages.

 

13

Can I use ISBT 128 bar codes to label a Red Cell product as antigen-negative based on historical antigen testing of the donor? 

The ISBT 128 Standard does not create standards for testing. Rather, ISBT 128 provides information on how a product can be labeled or how information should be transmitted electronically. ICCBBA defers to national authorities to determine when a unit may be labeled as antigen-negative – click here, for practices in some countries. The information provided in the table is based on an informal survey of ISBT 128 users, and may reflect only a single facility within a country.


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US Specific ISBT 128: Frequently Asked Questions                 

  1. I am a transfusion service that only thaws Fresh Frozen Plasma. Will I be required to re-label that unit?
  2. How do I assign the Donation Identification Number for a pooled product?
  3. When modifying a product where does the US License Number appear?
  4. What information am I required to have bar coded on my label?
  5. Our current system assigns a suffix to the parent unit number when aliquots are made. How will aliquots be handled with the ISBT 128 Standard?
  6. Am I required to specify in the ISBT 128 Product Code data structure (data structure 003) whether the unit is autologous, or directed?
  7. Must I encode the donation type in the ABO/Rh data structure (data structure 002)?
  8. In the chance of a catastrophic event that could result in my blood center receiving an unusually larger number of blood donations, how can we prepare ourselves to accommodate for the sudden need of extra Donation Identification Numbers (DINs) without stocking up and wasting the unused labels at the end of each year, since the collection year is incorporated in the DIN itself and there is a long turnaround time for ordering more labels?
  9. For facilities located in the US, how should the labeling of Reconstituted Red Blood Cells be handled?
  10. My facility is in the US. I have a platelet apheresis collection with a platelet count of 5.8 x 1011. I have divided it into two products. One has a count of 3.1 x 1011and the other has a count of 2.7 x 1011. What Product Codes should I use?
  11. How do I label Red Blood Cell products with the additive AS-7 (Solx)?
  12. What is Octaplas?
  13. If I have an Octaplas product and I thaw it, is it acceptable to cross out the original expiration and handwrite the new expiration?

US Specific ISBT 128: Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am a transfusion service that only thaws Fresh Frozen Plasma. Will I be required to re-label that unit?

If your facility thaws Fresh Frozen Plasma and transfuses it within 24 hours, then you are not required to re-label the unit and can just handwrite the new expiration date/time. However, if your facility does not transfuse the product within 24 hours then, you would have to re-label the unit as "Thawed Plasma".

The Thawed Plasma unit should be given an expiration date set for 5 days from the time of thaw.

2. How do I assign the Donation Identification Number for a pooled product?

The pooling facility should assign a new Donation Identification Number (DIN) to the pooled unit. The DIN assigned to the pooled unit should contain the Facility Identification Number of the pooling facility. The facility performing the pool should maintain records of all DINs comprising the pool.

3. When modifying a product where does the US License Number appear?

The original processing facility (e.g., Facility A) will have their US License Number in the upper left quadrant of the label or the lower left quadrant. The modifying facility (e.g., Facility B) will have their US License Number in the lower right quadrant.

Please reference the FDA Guidance for Industry – Cooperative Manufacturing Arrangements for Licensed Biologics November 2008 (Section IV, C).

(View the document here– PDF

The FDA guidance states that the US License Number must appear on the label. It is an ISBT 128 recommendation that the license numbers appear in the upper left/ lower left quadrant (for the original processing facility), and the lower right quadrant (for the modifying facility).

If the unit is modified into an unlicensed product, neither US License Number shall appear on the modified unit.

4. What information am I required to have bar coded on my label?

At a minimum, FDA requires machine-readable labels for a unique facility identifier, lot number relating to the donor (unit number), product code, and ABO/Rh. This is specified under 21 CFR 606.121(c)(13)(iii).

5. Our current system assigns a suffix to the parent unit number when aliquots are made. How will aliquots be handled with the ISBT 128 Standard? 

The ISBT 128 Product Code is 8 characters long. For Blood and Cellular Therapy products, the first 5 characters is the Product Description Code, the 6th identifies the type of donation, and the 7th and 8th character identifies the divisions/splits. 

For divisions the 5 character Product Description Code remains the same, and the 7th and 8th characters of the Product Code, which comprise the Division Code, changes. These characters can change from 00 to A0, B0, C0, etc. as necessary.

For example, if you have product E0164V00 and you perform a single first level division, resulting aliquots will be E0164VA0 and E0164VB0. If you further divide product E0164VB0 into three aliquots, the resulting second level divided products will be E0164VBa, E0164VBb, and E0164VBc.

6. Am I required to specify in the ISBT 128 Product Code data structure (data structure 003) whether the unit is autologous, or directed?

Autologous donations are required to be encoded in the Product Code. At this time Directed units are not required to be encoded in the Product Code, but can be if desired. However, the Americas Technical Advisory Group (ATAG) has decided to mandate the use of the "Directed" donation type in the Product Code in the next version of the US Consensus Standard.

It is required that a donation type is specified in the Product Code - FDA does not permit the use of the default value of "0" (not specified) to be used in the Product Code for products intended for transfusion. However, recovered Plasma and Source Plasma units may have the “0” donation type.

7. Must I encode the donation type in the ABO/Rh data structure (data structure 002)?

The "autologous" donation type must be encoded in the ABO data structure (data structure 002). If a "directed" unit cannot be crossed over, it should be encoded in the ABO/Rh data structure. If a "directed" unit may be crossed over, it should not be encoded in the ABO/Rh data structure in the U.S.

8. In the chance of a catastrophic event that could result in my blood center receiving an unusually larger number of blood donations, how can we prepare ourselves to accommodate for the sudden need of extra Donation Identification Numbers (DINs) without stocking up and wasting the unused labels at the end of each year, since the collection year is incorporated in the DIN itself and there is a long turnaround time for ordering more labels?

In practice, the year assigned to the DIN would be the year the DIN was assigned to a product. However, to cut down on wastage, DIN labels may be used for up to one month in the year before, and one month in the year after, the year shown on the label. Keep in mind that the combination of a DIN and Product Code should never be duplicated.

9. For facilities located in the US, how should the labeling of Reconstituted Red Blood Cells be handled?

In the US, there are several different labeling scenarios for Reconstituted Red Blood Cells. A short document was prepared that reflects the current thinking on labeling these products in the US. Again, this applies to US facilities only and is subject to change.

10. My facility is in the US. I have a platelet apheresis collection with a platelet count of 5.8 x 1011. I have divided it into two products. One has a count of 3.1 x 1011 and the other has a count of 2.7 x 1011. What Product Codes should I use?   

In the US, this must be labeled as a divided product because one resulting product has less than the required 3.0 x 1011 platelets. That is, the character in the 7th position of the Product Code must change from a 0 (zero) to an upper case A for one product and an upper case B for the other. Additionally, the product that contains 2.7 x 1011 platelets must include the attribute “<3E11 Platelets” in the Product Description Code.

For example:

  • Beginning product:  E3077V00 (Apheresis PLATELETS|ACD-A/XX/20-24C|ResLeu:<5E6, undivided)
  • Product with 3.1 X 1011 platelets:  E3077VA0 (Apheresis PLATELETS|ACD-A/XX/20-24C|ResLeu:<5E6, divided)
  • Product with 2.7 x 1011 platelets:  E4643VB0 (Apheresis PLATELETS|ACD-A/XX/20-24C|ResLeu:<5E6|<3E11 plts, divided)

It does not matter which product becomes A0 and which becomes B0. However, it is recommended that facilities develop a policy for which Division Code is assigned to the “standard” product and which is assigned to the low yield product, and then be consistent in following their policy.

Please note that this means you may not use container attributes (e.g., 1st container or 2nd container) if one of the resulting products is of low yield.

11. How do I label Red Blood Cell products with the additive AS-7 (Solx)?

Section 6.1 in IG-002 United States Consensus Standard for the Uniform Labeling of Blood and Blood Components Using ISBT 128 v3.0.0 specifies that, "Additive solutions shall be listed on the line immediately after the Component Class (or proper name if different) and before the intended use cautionary statement, if applicable."

Below is the label example for AS-7 (Solx)

AS-7

Note: Additive Solution AS-7 (Solx) has been approved for use by the FDA. 

12. What is Octaplas?

Octaplas (manufactured by Octapharma) is pooled human plasma that has been solvent/detergent treated to inactivate pathogens. More information may be found on the FDA website.

13. If I have an Octaplas product and I thaw it, is it acceptable to cross out the original expiration and handwrite the new expiration?

Yes, it is acceptable to cross out the expiration and handwrite the new expiration date and time. The thawed product must be used within 12 hours if stored at 2-4 °C or within 3 hours if stored at 20-25 °C.