Key messages

• Blood products are expensive to produce and all carry a risk of viral transmission. Therefore they should only be used when there is a valid clinical indication.

• Platelets, fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate, and granulocytes do not undergo any viral inactivation steps, but adult recipients are exposed to only four to twenty donors during each transfusion.

• Albumin, factor concentrates, and immunoglobulin are all made from pooled donor plasma (pools are usually made from more than 1000 donor units) and are then virally inactivated, which substantially reduces but does not abolish infection risk.

• All blood products can cause allergic reactions.

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