I am wondering, do blood cells die right after they leave the body?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Reasonable question, but it could use some clarification re: what you mean by "die". $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Dec 20 '18 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ Hi C. Jordan, wlecome to Bio.SE. What research did you do to try to answer this question on your own? We ask that all question askers on Bio.SE try to answer their own questions and then ask questions only about specific details they cannot find an answer to or that they do not understand. Please update this question with evidence of such prior research, and please be mindful of this as you continue to interact with this community. thanks! $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Dec 21 '18 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist I was looking up on a website about refrigerating blood samples, but got varying results. $\endgroup$ – C. Jordan Dec 28 '18 at 6:22

No. If they did, blood transfusions wouldn't be possible (or they would require some sort of direct body-to-body system).

Red cells collected can be stored under refrigeration for over a month. See for example the description of what happens to donated blood from the Red Cross. Platelets don't last quite as long, but they also survive for some time in the right conditions. Of course, some cells die during storage, but there is no instantaneous die-off once cells leave the body.


Blood cells do not die immediately because they still have some amount of nutrients in them that they can use until it finishes. They only die when they lose their source of nutrients after using up all that is in them.

Cells in blood still have access to nutrients due the presence of plasma which helps keep them alive for while.

Put in a fridge(4-18°C), the temperature slows their rate of metabolism allows which further extends their lifespan. But can die of heat shock if frozen and thawed. You can read more on it in;

Effect of Blood Storage on Complete Biochemistry

Effect of Specimen Collection and Storage on Blood...

The pathophysiology and consequences of red blood cell storage

Red blood cell storage time and transfusion: current practice, concerns and future perspectives

  • $\begingroup$ Please provide support for your answer. Cite at least one reputable source that backs up your claim. Thanks $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Dec 20 '18 at 14:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.