Blood and Blood Products

Blood and blood products consist of whole blood, packed red blood cells, plasma, and albumin. Whole blood consists of all cellular and plasma components of blood. Whole blood should be used to treat severe cases of anemia—not mild cases of anemia—because one unit of whole blood elevates hemoglobin by 0.5 to 1.0 g. (By comparison, a unit of packed red bloods elevates the hematocrit— percentage of serum occupied by red blood cells—by three points.) Packed red blood cells are whole blood without plasma and are used to decrease circulatory overload and to decrease the risk of reaction to antigens contained in plasma.

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