Hematology: Frozen for Transfusion

Just because a patient is losing whole blood does not necessarily mean that whole blood is what he should get in replacement. Yet, because of difficulties in collecting blood, separating it into its component fractions and then storing them, whole blood is what he gets in 97% of the millions of transfusions performed annually in the U.S. This is not only wasteful: it is no longer nec essary. Whereas the red cells in whole blood previously would not keep for more than 21 days, they can now be frozen and stored indefinitely. So can other blood components.


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