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Blood Products

  • fresh whole blood: It is the blood that we obtain directly from the patient, without selecting any of its components. It is stored in human blood bags with a capacity of 450ml (this is considered 1 Unit of blood). To be considered fresh, it must be used within 8 hours after extraction. This product has all the cellular components of blood, in addition to coagulation factors and other viable plasma proteins.

  • Stored whole blood: It is the same product as in the previous case, but with more than 8 hours of life since its extraction. Its maximum duration is 28 days and it must be stored at 4ºC. This product provides red blood cells and albumin.

  • Concentrated red blood cells: It is obtained by centrifuging whole blood at 4-5ºC. From one Unit of whole blood, between 200 and 250ml of concentrate are obtained. The sediment from this process constitutes the red blood cell concentrate. The maximum storage time of this product is 28 days, although if nutrient solutions are added it can increase up to 42 days. It only provides red blood cells to the patient.

  • Fresh plasma: It is obtained from centrifuged whole blood units in which the plasma fraction is separated from the cellular fraction. It provides coagulation factors, albumin and other plasma proteins. For plasma to be considered fresh, no more than 6 hours can pass from its extraction to its use.

  • Fresh frozen plasma: Same as fresh plasma, but frozen at -20ºC within 6 hours after extraction. Thanks to this freezing, its life is much longer than in the case of fresh plasma, coagulation factors are preserved for up to one year and albumin for 2 years.

  • Platelet concentrate: It is obtained by centrifuging whole blood at 22ºC slowly and centrifuging the supernatant again. The volume recovered after this process is 50-70ml. Its life is 3 to 5 days and it must be kept under continuous agitation at 22ºC, since at lower temperatures platelet function is inactivated. It provides platelets to the patient, it is especially useful in patients with decreased platelet production, not in pathologies that increase their destruction. Numerous transfusions of this concentrate can cause immunization of the patient. The dose is 1 unit per 10kg of patient.


  • Cryoprecipitate: It is obtained by thawing fresh frozen plasma slowly (4-6ºC). During thawing, a white precipitate (cryoprecipitate) forms in the plasma. This precipitate contains Von Willebrand factor, factors I and VIII. It is used to treat von Willebrand disease, hemophilia A, and fibrinogen deficiencies. The supernatant plasma obtained by removing the cryoprecipitate contains factors II, VII, IX and X and is used for the treatment of rodenticide poisoning. Its useful life is 4 to 6 hours after defrosting. The dose is 1 unit per 10kg of patient.

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