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Microcentrifuge

A portable way to test blood

Technical file

Innovation leader: Víctor Grífols i Lucas

Year: 1968

Period: The American influence (1960-1994)

Type of innovation: Technical device

Scope: Clinical analysis

Patent: Yes

Geographical reach: National

Economic impact:  3-Low

Level of innovation:  2-Evolutionary

Interdisciplinary connections: -

Related innovations: Control sera and the ABO blood typing system, z-shaped aluminum tube holder

In the 1950s, once the ABO blood group system and the existence of the Rh factor were established, the idea of systematic blood testing gained traction. A few years later it became an indispensable and routine practice prior to any type of blood transfusion.

Centrifuging the test solution to separate out coagulated element and the liquid fraction was a vital part of the testing procedure. At the time, home transfusions were still common in Spain, so the less bulky the equipment needed for testing, the better.

 

The same job, but smaller

Realizing there was need for a compact piece of equipment to do the job, Víctor Grífols i Lucas designed his microcentrifuge in 1968. As well as shrinking down its weight and footprint, the microcentrifuge had other practical features, such as a space for four hemolysis tubes. It was accompanied by templates that acted as a "recipe" to cross-test correctly and avoid errors.

Thanks to the commercial arrangements with the American Hospital Supply Corporation, the equipment gained popularity outside Spain, too. In fact, at the request of UNESCO some microcentrifuges capable of functioning connected to the cigarette lighter plug of a car were manufactured so blood tests and cross-tests could be carried out in campaigns in Africa.

 

 

Taking blood testing out of the lab, and to anywhere it's needed

 

Bibliography

  • GRI-CEL, S.A. (1968). Aparatos científicos para control y análisis. Folleto comercial de la compañía GRI-CEL, S.A., Grupo AHSC.
  • GRI-CEL, S.A. (1971). Formularios de cumplimentación de anàlisis. Folletos comercializados por GRI-CEL, S.A., Grupo AHSC.
  • Barbolla, L., & Contreras, E. (2002). Pruebas pretransfusionales: compatibilidad en transfusión. En Barbolla, L. (Ed.), Manual práctico de medicina transfusional (pp. 71-83). Madrid: Acción Médica.
  • Grífols i Lucas, V. (2009). Amb un suro i un cordill. Vivències d'un empresari de postguerra. Barcelona: Grífols Group, S.A.
  • Grifols, S.A. (2011). ¿Y si lo hacemos así? Patentes de Víctor Grífols i Lucas. Barcelona: España.
  • Bonilla-Zavala, R. (2005). Pruebas transfusionales. Revista Médica del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, 43(1), 13-15.
  • Avellà, R., & Miquel, B. (Eds.). (2015). Cuando un sueño se cumple. Crónica ilustrada de 75 años de Grifols. Barcelona: Grupo Grifols S.A.
  • Jimenez-Marco, T. (Ed.). (2015). Guía sobre la transfusión de componentes sanguíneos y derivados plasmáticos. Barcelona: Sociedad Española de Transfusión Sanguínea y Terapia Celular.