Think about stored donated blood; What should we check before transfusing it to a patient, to see if blood is still viable?

What methods to use? What components should it have in what levels, to be counted as viable?

Detailed version of the question, including some background:

Since I'm a software engineer I'm not aware which kind of topics should I search to find answers that I need. Of course I have tried to find publications and books related directly to this topic. But I could not find any. What I need at the moment is some material to do "some reading/research". And of course, if possible (which I don't know if there are too many possible answers or not) direct answers would be extremely helpful.

Of course I have done some research on indirectly related topics. For example; I have read papers about results of blood storage on blood quality etc. But these papers just analyze the effects, while it is not clear for me if these analyzed materials represents viability of blood.

For more detail, things those analyzed in few papers that I have read are;

  1. CBC: The CBC consisted of 10 parameters: white blood cell (WBC) count, red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), mean cell volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), red cell distribution width (RDW), platelet (PLT) count, and mean platelet volume (MPV).
  2. Differantial: consisted of relative percentages (%) and absolute numbers (#) of neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.
  3. Reticulocyte: The reticulocyte enumeration consisted of relative percentage (retic %) and absolute number of reticulocytes (retic #), and immature reticulocyte fraction(IRF).
  4. The NRBC: enumeration consisted of NRBC per 100 WBC (NRBC %) and absolute number of NRBC.
  5. Others: Factors V, VII, VIII, X, and XI, protein S (PS), a2-antiplasmin (AP), and fibrinogen; and the activated partial thromboplastin (APTT) and prothrombin (PT) times. Factors VIII and factor IX.

Still, I'm reading about each of these. What I'm in need is someone help and say; like:

  1. "You are totally lost, these are not related to your case"
  2. "You should check this paper which is related to your case"
  3. "This, this and this ones in your list are what you are looking for. Focus on them."


  • $\begingroup$ Have voted to reopen. Great job on sharing your research. A question (which will help direct the answer): why do you want to know this? You've listed some of the normal parameters of blood, many of which have nothing to do with viability. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2015 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ I'll work on new blood testing techniques for viability. While I'll be working with people from health area, first I want to learn about this topic myself, with my researches. I have been looking for sources on such topics but could not find a solid lead. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2015 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


Blood can be stored as whole blood or packed red blood cells. The constituents of each are different. Which one will be used varies based on the patient, the availability and the situation. Whole blood (not necessarily warm) is used more often when there is massive blood loss, as it contains all the components of blood: clotting factors, platelets, plasma, etc. Packed red blood cells have had the white blood cells removed, most of the plasma, the platelets, etc. It is indicated for routine blood loss and to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. The constituents of each are different.

The primary problems of stored blood viability are red blood cell deformability (red cells are normally very flexible in order to pass through capillaries) and red blood cell fragility (this results in fewer RBCs actually active in the recipient, as RBCs will break apart.) The viability of RBCs in storage depend on factors such as adequate ADP (the energy substrate). When RBSs are less viable for any reason (less deformable, more fragile, or hemolysis has started in the stored blood), this is termed red cell (or red blood cell/rbc) storage lesion.

Though there are probably many questions you may have about storage methods and viability, this will give you an idea of search terms for your reading. Good luck in your research efforts.

Fresh Warm Whole Blood (FWB
2012 Clinical Practice Guide on Red Blood Cell Transfusion
Blood Products
Deformability of stored red blood cells. Relationship to degree of packing
Microvascular perfusion upon exchange transfusion with stored red blood cells in normovolemic anemic conditions
Studies on the preservation of human blood. II. The relationship of erythrocyte adenosine triphosphate levels and other in vitro measures to red cell storageability
Nitric Oxide Scavenging by Red Blood Cell Microparticles and Cell-Free Hemoglobin as a Mechanism for the Red Cell Storage Lesion
Hemoglobin-driven pathophysiology is an in vivo consequence of the red blood cell storage lesion that can be attenuated in guinea pigs by haptoglobin therapy


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