6.4 Outline of blood component preparation and composition

This section gives a general overview of the information that clinicians may need about blood components. Other examples are given at www.edqm.eu (Search for Blood Transfusion) Guide to preparation, use and quality control of blood components) and national guides (attached at bottom of this page).

Red Cell Components

Whole blood

Typically this contains 450-500 ml of donor blood that has been collected into a pack containing 63 ml of an anticoagulant solution such as CPD.

Red cells in additive solution

Typically all but 20 ml of plasma is removed from the collected whole blood and replaced with an additive solution designed to optimise red cell preservation, such as saline solution containing added adenine, glucose and mannitol (also called SAGM, SAGMAN, Adsol or optimal additive solution). It should contain at least 45 g of haemoglobin per unit. The EU Directive refers to this as “red cells in additive solution”. Other variants of red cell components include red cells that are leucocyte-depleted, have buffy coat removed, or are collected by apheresis.