|Kodecyte; Training; Grading; Haemagglutination
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Background: Skills in recognising a range of grades of haemagglutination are critical to safe practice in the preparation of blood for human transfusion. With the move from apprenticeship-style training of blood bank scientists to university-based laboratory science degrees, the skill of grading has probably diminished, due to a lack of availability of a range of grades to teach. The development of KODE technology, with the ability to insert synthetic blood group antigens into the red cell surface in controlled amounts, allowed the potential to develop a new grading teaching tool. Methods: KODE technology was utilised to produce panels of cells designed to have a range of agglutination grades (so called “kodecytes”). These were analysed by 102 students and 21 practitioners recruited over a two-year period. Participants performed a standardised grading exercise over either 1, 12, or 24 weeks. Statistical tools were applied to perform quantitative data analysis, and qualitative feedback was also sought. Results: Students did not have problems grading strongly agglutinating natural cells, or negative reactions. They did have problems grading weak and medium agglutinates (kodecytes). Students with initial grading problems improved their performance in the grading exercise over time (p=0.02). Both students and practitioners found the grading exercises to be valuable in improving grading ability and confidence in ability to grade, particularly with weak grades. Conclusion: KODE technology allowed the development of a robust and well-accepted teaching tool, to improve the teaching of grades of haemagglutination in the teaching environment.