Managing efficient and timely plasma thawing, especially for massive transfusion protocols, is a significant challenge for military blood banks and emergency rooms. Current plasma thawing methods rely on hot water baths, which are slow, messy, and outdated. These baths require large amounts of time at every stage of the thawing process: time to heat up, time to thaw the plasma and further time to recover. They also tend to result in splashed water at the point of use, causing wasted time and effort to clean up after the plasma is thawed.
Additionally, after a day of heavy use for a massive transfusion event, hot water baths will need to be taken offline and deep cleaned near a sink. With only a single working water bath, another massive transfusion event would result in a serious crisis in plasma availability.
One way to maintain high plasma throughput with water baths is to use multiple devices. That’s expensive and requires its own additional maintenance overhead: more hot water baths means more staffers to maintain them. And since baths can’t easily be moved, working around fixed equipment creates more complexity of work flow and requires more hands on deck. This is particularly challenging when there’s a labor shortage for blood bank technicians.
Now there’s an easier, faster, less staff-intensive way to increase plasma throughput. ZipThaw is a new, made in the USA, FDA-cleared plasma thawing medical device that uses dry technology, advanced safety features and other thoughtful innovations that make it ideal for military applications.
Many current hot water baths have four chambers. Excluding warm up and recovery times, it takes about 40 minutes to thaw four standard size plasma bags to an unknown temperature. ZipThaw has two independent chambers, and in that same 40 minutes it can thaw 6 bags to a 31°C for transfusion, or up to 8 bags to 15°C for refrigeration.
How fewer chambers can equal more thawed plasma
ZipThaw is an advanced, portable device that requires almost zero maintenance and no downtime. Because it uses fully dry thawing technology it is lightweight, meaning you can thaw anywhere that works best for your clinic: at point-of-care on a wheeled cart, or in temporary locations like hallways or anywhere else. All ZipThaw needs is an outlet.
Since water baths require cleaning downtime after heavy use, on a daily basis, ZipThaw produces more than twice the thawed plasma per hour than aging water baths. Why? Because ZipThaw works every day, all day.
A water bath’s downtime for maintenance or cleaning is lost plasma thawing time, all while ZipThaw keeps humming away.
How ZipThaw works
ZipThaw is fast, reliable, accurate and dry. There are no spills to clean and it’s light enough to carry.
- Dry technology – no cleaning and light enough to carry
- Safety features – ZipSleeve® smart barrier and catch trays
- Easy to use – touchscreen and built-in barcode reader
A thoughtful combination of innovative features make ZipThaw a consistent and reliable plasma thawer that needs almost zero maintenance.
To thaw plasma with ZipThaw, slide a frozen plasma bag into a ZipSleeve, ZipThaw’s proprietary reusable leak-proof pouch, then place that into one of two independent chambers. The chamber has cushions that conform to the plasma bag. The chamber gently conducts heat and almost silently massages the plasma until it warms to refrigeration or transfusion temperatures.
This dry technology means there’s no water in circulation. The device is light enough to carry with one hand. Combined with a small footprint, this means that ZipThaw doesn’t take up limited bench space and you can streamline operations by placing ZipThaws where you need them, when you need them. Many clinics put them on a rolling cart, others carry them from point to point as needed.
The ZipSleeve smart barrier both protects the device and clinicians from any cracked plasma bags. It also contains RFID sensors to carefully measure plasma temperature so you always know the final thaw temp.
ZipThaw advanced safety features mean the device is safe for you, your lab and your patients. If a thawing bag of plasma tears, the ZipSleeve will contain it so there’s no contamination to the device or the other chamber. Simply toss out the ZipSleeve and start over. There are also catch trays and sealed off electronics so that if even a ZipSleeve was to somehow tear, no liquid enters the core of the machine; you can clean out the drip tray and start again. An array of heat sensors in ZipSleeve and the ZipThaw chambers measures the temperature of the plasma itself, not its surroundings, which gives you the information you need to better care for your patients.
Easy to Use
It takes about 20 minutes of training to use ZipThaw, either via remote videos or on site with a distributor. Operating ZipThaw is quick to learn because the device is easy to use.
A graphical touch screen, color-coded lights and an integrated barcode reader makes using ZipThaw exceptionally straightforward. There are no separate parts to keep track of and no complex instructions or procedures. Simply press the touchscreen, wave a bag of plasma to read the barcode, and insert a bag into a ZipSleeve that slides into a chamber.
Scheduled maintenance for ZipThaw includes replacing the warming cushions within each chamber about once a year, depending on usage.
Replacing the warming cushions can be done by a staff member in a few minutes, so there’s no need for a distributor to send a technician. Outside of that, there are periodic software updates that can be done via a USB key inserted by a staff member. Beyond these annual tasks of a few minutes each, there’s no additional maintenance needed.
Each ZipThaw device is quality tested before it leaves the factory and each ZipThaw comes with a 3-year full replacement warranty.
If you’re tired of the complexity and relative sluggishness of water baths, contact us for a ZipThaw demo and see how it can increase your plasma throughput. ZipThaw and ZipSleeve are made by FreMon Scientific, whose co-founder is a decorated two-tour Vietnam War combat veteran. The company is based in San Diego, California. ZipThaw and ZipSleeve are manufactured in the USA.