Different Types Of Red Blood Cell Products Given To Patients

If you have a specific blood illness like anemia, neutropenia, or hemophilia, then you may need to receive blood transfusions on a regular basis. While some individuals are given whole blood, this is rarely necessary. Blood is broken up into different products to make the most out of every blood donation. Red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma are often given separately. There are a few different types of red blood cell products that may be transfused. Keep reading to learn about a few.

Packed Red Blood Cells

Packed red blood cells (RBCs) are the most common product given to individuals who need red blood cells. These individuals often have a low hemoglobin count and may or may not have symptoms associated with anemia. These symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Oftentimes, the oxygen-carrying capacity is reduced due to low hemoglobin counts. This accounts for the symptoms since your body is in need of more oxygen.

Packed RBCs are simply red blood cells that have been separated from the whole blood. In most cases, people who have a low RBC count have a good blood volume. Increasing blood volume is unnecessary, so the RBCs are transfused into the body to increase the number of red blood cells in the existing blood. 

Depending on factors like dehydration, packed RBCs may be given with plasma. However, plasma and RBC products are often given separately so that healthcare professionals can provide exact volumes of the products.

Washed Red Blood Cells

Washed red blood cells are another type of blood product, but transfusions of washed RBCs are not nearly as common as packed RBCs. The washed red blood cells are cells that are processed to remove all traces of plasma, white blood cells, and platelets. These cells are needed for people who are extremely allergic to donor plasma. 

Individuals who are immune compromised and anemic may be given washed RBCs as well. This is also true of anyone who has had an extreme allergic reaction to a blood product. 

Washed RBCs typically contain blood taken from individuals who lack certain enzymes in their blood. This reduces the chance of an allergic reaction developing. Since donors have rare blood types, the products are not as common and are usually provided only when absolutely necessary.

Irradiated blood products are sometimes given in cases where extreme reactions are anticipated.

If you want to know more about blood products and the types of RBCs that can be used during transfusion, speak with a medical professional.