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Blood Components

How can one donation help multiple people?

In modern medical treatments, patients may receive a pint of whole blood or just specific components of the blood needed to treat their particular condition. Up to four components can be derived from donated blood. This approach to treatment, referred to as blood component therapy, allows several patients to benefit from one pint of donated whole blood. The main transfusable blood components include:

Whole Blood

Whole blood contains red cells, white cells, and platelets (~45% of volume) suspended in plasma (~55% of volume).

Red cells

Red cells, or erythrocytes, carry oxygen from the lungs to your body’s tissue and take carbon dioxide back to your lungs to be exhaled.

Platelets

Platelets, or thrombocytes, are small, colorless cell fragments in the blood whose main function is to interact with clotting proteins to stop or prevent bleeding.

Plasma

Plasma is a fluid, composed of about 92% water, 7% vital proteins such as albumin, gamma globulin, anti- hemophilic factor, and other clotting factors, and 1% mineral salts, sugars, fats, hormones and vitamins.

Cryoprecipitated AHF

Cryoprecipitated Antihemophilic Factor (Cryo) is a portion of plasma rich in clotting factors, including Factor VIII and fibrinogen. It is prepared by freezing and then slowly thawing the frozen plasma.


Transfusable Blood Components Summary


Whole Blood Red Blood Cells Platelets Plasma Cryoprecipitated AHF
COLOR OF THIS BLOOD COMPONENT
Red Red Colorless Yellowish White 
BLOOD COMPONENT SHELF LIFE
21 / 35  Days* Up to 42 Days* 5 Days 1 Year 1 Year
STORAGE CONDITIONS
Refrigerated Refrigerated Room temperature with constant agitation to prevent clumping Frozen Frozen
KEY USES OF THIS BLOOD TYPE
  • Trauma
  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Surgery
  • Anemia
  • Any blood loss
  • Blood disorders, such as sickle cell
  • Cancer treatments
  • Organ transplants
  • Surgery
  • Burn patients
  • Shock
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Hemophilia
  • Von Willebrand disease (most common hereditary coagulation abnormality)
  • Rich source of Fibrinogen

   * Shelf life of whole blood and red cells varies based on the type anticoagulant used.

Learn More About Each Blood Component