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The lifetime of neutrophils is normally quite short, 3-5 days in vivo (link). On the other hand, whole blood can be stored for a fairly long time, up to 35 days (link).

What happens to neutrophils in whole blood for transfusion that was stored for more than 5 days?

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  • $\begingroup$ I have not worked in a shop that has whole blood available for transfusion in a while (typically only very large trauma centers use whole blood, everyone else uses individual components), but most packed cells for transfusion are given as leukocyte reduced with those neutrophils being filtered out prior to transfusion. $\endgroup$ – RudyB Dec 26 '17 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ @RudyB Thanks! I know whole blood is not common nowadays, it used to be standard in the past. I'm just curious whether the neutrophils stay alive longer, or apoptose, or get eaten by macrophages, or something else, in that situation. $\endgroup$ – Alex I Dec 26 '17 at 4:34
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    $\begingroup$ There is actually a resurgence of whole blood usage due to trauma studies showing that it is the best resuscitation fluid, but storage, cost, usage, etc. mean that only few places keep it. Outside of trauma, component transfusions predominate (PRBCs/ FFP/ platelets). However, using it is much easier (minutes) relative to thawing FFP (an hour) or trying to get emergent pheresis platelets from Red Cross (multiple hours in the best case). The neutrophils are the part of blood that clinically nobody wants due to things like graft versus host disease, so I honestly do not know what happens. $\endgroup$ – RudyB Dec 26 '17 at 5:47

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