Use of blood components

Clinicians are encouraged to adopt the principles of patient blood management (PBM) and related evidence-based guidelines to determine the appropriateness of transfusion.

PBM is a coordinated healthcare approach to patient care that focuses on strategies to reduce or avoid the need for a blood transfusion where possible, alongside the appropriate use of blood.

General principles of blood component therapy include:

  1. The decision to transfuse should:
    • be based on an appropriate clinical and laboratory diagnosis
    • consider the risks and benefits to the patient, and
    • consider the availability, cost, and the importance of appropriately using a valuable, freely given community resource.
  2. Transfusion can effectively and efficiently provide or replace missing or malfunctioning elements of the blood or immune systems.
  3. Transfusion therapy can provide short or long-term support. 

Informed consent should be obtained and documented for all transfusions of blood components in accordance with national standards and guidelines, and local institutional informed consent policies.

Explore this topic further

Use of red cells

Red cells are used for the treatment of clinically significant anaemia with symptomatic deficit of oxygen carrying capacity.

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Use of Group O RhD negative red cells

Group O RhD negative red cells may be used in emergency situations until the patient’s blood group is known.

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Use of platelets

Platelets are used for the treatment or prophylaxis of bleeding due to thrombocytopaenia or non-functioning platelets.

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Use of fresh frozen plasma

Fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is used for patients with a coagulopathy who are bleeding or at risk of bleeding, and where a specific therapy or factor concentrate is not appropriate or unavailable.

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Use of cryodepleted plasma

Cryodepleted plasma is used as an alternative to FFP for plasma exchange in patients with thrombotic thromboctyopenic purpura (TTP).

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Use of cryoprecipitate

Cryoprecipitate is indicated for the treatment of acquired fibrinogen deficiency or dysfibrinogenaemia due to criticial bleeding, an invasive procedure, trauma or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

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