How to Store Donated Blood Properly: Everything to Know

Storing donated blood is a responsible and risky task. It calls for the right ways of stored procedures. Know them in-depth. 

Blood donation is good work, and storing donated blood is a responsible task. 

Donated blood can save a patient’s life. There are two ways of giving donated blood to patients. They might receive a pint of whole blood or specific blood components required for treating their particular condition. It is called blood therapy and benefits many patients.

Components of Whole Blood

The transfusable components of donated blood are the following, but the additional component, white blood cells, is often removed before transfusion from donated blood.

Whole Blood

Platelets, red cells, and white cells are the components of whole blood, the most common form of blood donation. Doctors transfuse whole blood for treating patients who need all blood components. Examples of such patients are those who suffered blood loss due to surgery or trauma.

Red Blood Cells

Bone marrow produces Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, which give blood the red color. The Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the entire body and move the carbon dioxide back to the lungs.


Bone marrow makes platelets, which are colorless, and small cell fragments in the blood. The primary function of platelets is sticking to your blood vessel lining to prevent or stop bleeding. 


Plasma is the liquid component of the blood that keeps the cellular components in suspension. It is somewhat a cloudy liquid, and its color varies from bright green to pale yellow, depending on the person. It constitutes about 55 percent of the total blood volume. Plasma does not contain clotting factors or blood serum and is made up of 90 percent of water. The rest 10 percent consists of substances dissolved in water, such as electrolytes, plasma proteins, and low-molecular substances, like vitamins, hormones, and trace elements. The function of blood plasma is to act as a medium for cellular components movement.


Granulocytes are a form of white cells that protect the body from infection by destroying viruses and bacteria. Doctors treat patients with Granulocytes for conditions that do not respond to antibiotics. An automated process known as apheresis is used to gather Granulocytes, which need to be transfused within 24 hours of donation.


Cryo is a component of plasma and is rich in clotting factors, including fibrinogen and Factor VIII, that lowers blood loss by stopping or slowing bleeding due to injury or illness.

White Blood Cells

White blood cells are also called leukocytes, which are the body’s defense mechanisms against disease. While some white blood cells produce antibodies against viruses and bacteria, some destroy bacteria and fight malignant diseases.

But, there is a thing to note. Although your white cells keep the body healthy, it can be dangerous to receive donated blood as leukocytes might carry viruses that could weaken your immune system and release toxic substances into your body. Leukocytes are removed from donated blood through a process called leuko-reduction to guard against such negative eventualities. 

How Are Blood Components Stored?

The following are the standard methods of storing blood components:

Red Cells 

Specialists take out the plasma from whole blood to prepare red blood cells, which unusually have up to 42-day of shelf life. The anticoagulant also plays an essential role in the life of red blood cells, which must be stored in refrigerated conditions. Notably, specialists can freeze them for ten years or more.


Specialists prepare platelets with the help of a centrifuge, separating platelet-rich plasma from donated whole blood. They combine plasma from different donors to make a transfusable unit. The other way for specialists to prepare platelets is using an apheresis device that:

  • Draws blood from the donor’s arm
  • Separates the blood into Its components
  • Retails some platelets
  • Returns the balance blood to the donor

With this process, a single donor can contribute up to six times the amount of platelets than with a unit of platelets from whole blood donation.

Specialists can store the platelets for up to five days at room temperature. But, they need to provide slight agitation to the platelets to prevent clumping.


Plasma is stored dissolved in water for injection purposes and is not a sterile product. Importantly, it should not contain gelatinous or solid substances. A small number of pathogens and microorganisms will be present in the plasma. Usually, sterile storage is not required to store plasma because it is stored in hermetically sealed containers in the frozen state, in which it is also transported.

During storage and transportation, it should not be exposed to excessive temperature, affecting the protein activity, affecting its quality. 

Doctors should use donated plasma within 24 months. And for storage, they should invest in a blood plasma freezer

Transporting Blood

Transporting blood from one place to another is a responsible and risky process. It calls for Good Distribution Practices (GDP) and Good Manufacturing Practices(GMP), and applicable local jurisdictional standards and requirements. The practices together form the standard operating procedures (SOPs). Cleanliness should be part and parcel of blood transportation.


Now, you seem to know about donated blood and the ways of storing and transportation. If you own a blood bank, this article will help you a lot. 

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