Packed red blood cells

A red blood cell concentrate ( EC ) is a red blood cells ( erythrocytes) existing " Blood Bag ". If colloquially of " blood transfusion " is spoken, erythrocyte concentrates are usually meant.

  • 2.1 leukocyte depleted erythrocyte concentrates
  • 2.2 erythrocyte concentrate with autologous donations
  • 2.3 Washed erythrocyte concentrates
  • 2.4 Irradiated red blood cell concentrates

Recovery of erythrocyte concentrates

Whole blood donation

The donation of blood for transfusion- medical purposes is subject to the German-speaking countries very precise legal regulations. First, by means of venous blood 450 ml of whole blood in a special, specially authorized and certified plastic bag containing about 63-70 ml of CPD- stabilizer solution obtained (CPD = citrate buffer, sodium, glucose, adenine). Due to the CPD- stabilizer solution, the pH is stabilized at 7.1-7.2, which is important for the durability and quality of blood products is crucial. After the whole blood donation, the blood collected is separated into its individual components. The transfusion of whole blood is now virtually no longer held, but only the transfusion of blood components ( red blood cell concentrates, platelet concentrates, plasma, etc.). This has its main reason is that whole blood is only a very short time durable. Erythrocyte concentrates, however, have a shelf life of 7 weeks.


In apheresis procedures are not whole blood, but only the " red blood components ", ie the erythrocytes obtained. A dialysis -like apparatus separates the process flow from the donor blood erythrocytes and passes the remaining blood components back to the donor cycle.

Erythrocyte concentrate preparations

Leukocyte depleted erythrocyte concentrates

These are the current standard erythrocyte concentrates. The leucocyte ( most extensive separation of the donor leukocytes ) is prescribed by law in Germany for all blood products. After the donation, the blood is first centrifuged. The supernatant plasma, and the so-called buffy coat, consisting of platelets and leukocytes, comprising, separated and the remaining erythrocytes are suspended in a little stabilizer solution.

Erythrocyte concentrate with autologous donations

Before planned ( elective ) surgery, which may bring a larger blood loss and the need for intraoperative transfusions with EK to donate their own blood can be done. The patient can then build up a stock of own packed red blood cells, which can then be administered during surgery. The autologous blood donation takes place as a normal blood donation.

Washed erythrocyte concentrates

A leukozytendepletiertes erythrocyte concentrate is again suspended in a nutrient solution, centrifuged again and again separated, so that the remains of the donor blood plasma is replaced with the nutrient solution. Washed erythrocyte concentrates are useful or necessary for:

  • Incompatibility of previous transfusions (eg allergic reactions to proteins of the donor plasma, eg in patients with IgA deficiency)

Irradiated red blood cell concentrates

In order to kill all living DNA-containing cells, especially the white blood cells red blood cell concentrates can be irradiated. This method is especially used in patients who have a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant behind or directly in front of him. By the irradiation, the transfer of immunocompetent cells in the donor, and the induction of graft-versus- host disease is to be prevented.

Irradiation is useful and necessary:

  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Immunosuppressed
  • Preterm infants
  • Exchange transfusions
  • Directed donations ( " relatives donation" )


  • Eckstein R.: Immuno-Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Elsevier, ISBN 3-437-21032-7.
  • Transfusion Medicine
  • Laboratory Medicine