promises to give results of complex blood tests in just 10 minutes – helping save precious
lives, and also unwanted blood transfusion.
The technique, developed by a German research firm, is currently being used in several
European and Asian nations, including in neighbouring Sri Lanka.
The technique, called Rotational Thromboelastometry (ROTEM), would save a liver
transplant patient in India from having to undergo unwanted blood transfusion, with just two-
three units making do instead of the usual 10-15 units of blood. This would also benefit the
patients economically, while hospitals could save up the blood for other needy patients.
The portable machine, developed by German firm Tem International, can be taken to where
the patient is. A small sample of blood is enough for around 10-12 tests, including blood
cultures, with results delivered in 10 minutes, which would take 40-50 minutes in medical
“The ROTEM diagnostic technique helps in giving results of all the tests within 10 minutes.
Bleeding and blood transfusion have been shown to be independent risk factors for increased
morbidity and mortality. Introduction of ROTEM will be an important initiative for blood
management in India,” Klaus Goerlinger, senior consultant for Anaesthesiology, Intensive
Care and Emergency Medicine at the Germany-based University Duisburg-Essen, told IANS
Mahila Singhe, a 40-year-old- Sri Lankan who was operated upon in a Colombo hospital
following a severe accident, was able to make do with just two units of blood – thanks to the
Doctors attending on him took his fluid samples and within 10 minutes found out what type
of blood products were needed to save him.
In the normal course, the profusely bleeding Singhe would have required at least 10 units of
blood, in addition to the risk from delay in blood tests done in medical labs, which could
have also put his life in danger.
India needs 12 million units of blood annually but collects only nine million – a 25 per cent
deficit. In summer, the shortfall often hits 50 per cent due to rising demand from malaria and
The shortage has led to a spurt in professional donors cashing in on the needs of desperate
patients, and a flourishing black market.
Goerlinger, who is director of sales and marketing of Switzerland-based Tem International,
said: “ROTEM plays an integral role in blood conservation strategies by significantly
reducing usage of blood products and components. This technology will allow rapid and
reliable treatment decision to be made during emergencies and is a solution for detecting,
managing and monitoring haemostasis during cardiac surgery, liver transplant, trauma
patients and obstetrics.”
Poonam Malhotra Kaapoor, assistant professor of Cardiac-Anaesthesia at All India Institute
of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), told IANS: “Blood unit shortage is a colossal problem as many
people are still scared to give blood. This technique will save a lot of money and blood of
Kaapoor said ROTEM will also help in reducing the costs incurred by patients in purchasing
The pricing of the device has yet been fixed for India.
In order to make ROTEM technology available in India, Tem International has collaborated
with Vijyoti, one of India’s leading corporate social enterprises.
Vijay Pandey, managing director of Vijyoti, told IANS: “Patient Blood Management
demands a change in the mindset towards bleeding management. The technology helps
minimize risks of mortality, morbidity, hospital-acquired infection – sepsis – arising from
blood transfusion. It also leads to reduction in costs to patient, hospitals, and other
stakeholders like medical insurance companies and blood banks.”