Look-back investigations are performed to determine the possibility of transfusion-transmissible infection via previous blood product infusions. These can be ‘donor-initiated’ or ‘patient-initiated’. ‘Donor-initiated’ look-back investigations occur when repeat WCBS donors test positive for HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. The recipients of the products from the previous donation are followed up to determine whether there was potential for ‘window-period’ transmission of infection. The clinicians who prescribed the transfusions are contacted by the WCBS Specialised Donation Department and advised to test their patient for the specific infection under investigation.

‘Patient-initiated’ look-back investigations refer to the scenario where a clinician suspects that a specific infection may have been transmitted via a blood product transfusion. The clinician is required to contact the WCBS Specialised Donation Department and request for the blood service to investigate this.

The donor/s who supplied the blood products would be recalled for testing and a report is submitted to the requesting clinician. Phylogenetic testing may be performed should a donor test positive for the virus under investigation.

The WCBS CEO/Medical Director or Transfusion Medical Specialist will conclude the look-back investigation on an individual basis.

For look-back investigation queries please contact Sr Tania Paarman, WCBS Specialised Donations Department Supervisor.

Sr Tania Paarman: Telephone +27 (0)21 507 6393 | Email Tania@wcbs.org.za