Blood may be transfused as Whole Blood or as one of its components.
Whole Blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets suspended in a proteinaceous fluid called plasma.
Because patients seldom require all of the components of Whole Blood, it makes sense to transfuse only that portion which is needed by a patient for a specific condition or disease.
The treatment, referred to as "blood component therapy", allows several patients to benefit from one unit of donated Whole Blood. Up to four components may be derived from one unit of blood.
Whole Blood is a living tissue that circulates through the heart, arteries, veins and capillaries carrying nourishment, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins, antibodies, heat and oxygen to the body's tissues.
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To see how blood components are used see About Blood.
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