About Blood Irradiation

Nurse with neonate

Why irradiate blood?

Blood is irradiated in order to prevent a potentially fatal complication of blood transfusion called Transfusion Associated Graft versus Host Disease (TA-GVHD).  Irradiated blood is typically used for immunocompromised patients including:

  • Transplant patients
  • Bone marrow recipients
  • Cancer patients
  • Neonates
  • Persons with congenital immune deficiency syndromes

However, TA-GVHD can also occur in other patients when receiving blood from a close relative.


Why should you use RadTag® irradiation indicators?

For optimal patient safety, it is necessary to confirm that blood products have been irradiated according to standard guidelines. Failure to verify compliance with these guidelines can pose a risk to patients.

  • Some guidelines (e.g. USA and Canada) require blood to be irradiated at no less than
    15 Gy and no more than 50 Gy.
  • Other guidelines ( e.g. EU, UK and Australia) require blood to be irradiated at no less than
    25 Gy and no more than 50 Gy.

A proper verification of irradiation is important. Irradiation dose will vary depending on where blood products are placed in the irradiator and how many blood products are irradiated at one time. Operator and machine error can also lead to under-irradiation or over-irradiation of blood products.


RadTag® was developed to meet the guideline requirements and are specially calibrated to verify that the dose of irradiation delivered falls within recommended ranges. RadTag® indicators offer the best final validation that irradiated blood is safe to transfuse. No other indicator can offer our quality and assurance. It’s for this reason leading irradiator manufacturers recommend RadTag®.