Table 2.2 Components Produced by Blood Banks and the Medical Use of the These Components


Medical Use

Red blood cells

Oxygenate tissues


Prevention or stopping of bleeding

Fresh frozen plasma

Stop bleeding


Stop bleeding

Cryoprecipitate poor plasma

Plasma exchange


Treat infection

Frozen red blood cells

Store rare blood

Leukocyte-depleted red blood cells

Prevent reactions and certain diseases

many of the plasma derivative products as part of their total supply program for transfusion medicine therapy, but most of these other plasma products are actually manufactured commercially by plasma fractionation companies.

Because the United States has a pluralistic system of blood collection, there is no central repository of data about the number of units of blood collected or the components produced or transfused. The American Red Cross (ARC) collects about 45 percent of the 14 million units of whole blood available for use annually in the United States. Other community blood banks collect about 42 percent, hospitals collect about 11 percent, and the remaining 2 percent is imported. In 1989, a total of 12,544,000 units of whole blood were collected by 190 blood centers and 1,685,000 units were collected by an estimated 621 hospitals (Wallace, et al. 1993).

Plasma and Derivatives

For the manufacture of derivatives, plasma can be obtained as the by-product from whole blood (plasma) or by plasmapheresis (source plasma). Plasma that is a by-product from whole blood collected by community blood banks or hospitals is sold to commercial companies in the plasma fractionation industry, who in turn manufacture the plasma derivatives and sell them in the

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