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blood products

Blood is a liquid tissue that flows around the human body through the blood vessels. It is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets which are suspended in a liquid called plasma.
This is what is known as whole blood. From the blood you donate, several blood components will be separated and used, depending on the needs and in consideration of the specific characteristics of your blood.

Red blood cell concentrate


The red blood cell concentrate will keep for 42 days in the refrigerator, between 2 and 6° C.

Leucocyte-depleted red blood cell concentrate

Leucocyte-depleted red blood cell concentrate is advised in all severe cases of anaemia, where building up the oxygen transport capacity of the blood is clinically and biologically necessary. Needless to say this is a substitution treatment, not a causal therapy. Leucocyte reduction or depletion is intended to restrict transfusion reactions associated with anti-leucocyte or anti-platelet antibodies present in the recipient, a phenomenon frequently seen in polytransfused patients.

‘CMV negative’ red blood cell concentrate

'CMV negative' red blood cell concentrate is collected from donors who do not have antibodies against the cytomgalovirus (CMV). CMV negative donor blood is especially indicated for immunodepressed or immunologically immature subjects (premature babies, infants) who are at risk of organ problems (interstitial lung diseases, hepatitis), especially those with an immunity deficiency condition, etc.

‘Phenotyped’ red blood cell concentrate

'Phenotyped' red blood cell concentrate is indicated for patients who present with anti-red blood cells antibodies, or in order to avoid immunisation. It is the red blood cell concentrate from which erythrocytic antigens other than ABO and Rh have been established.


'Radiated' red blood cell concentrate is indicated in situations where the body’s defences are particularly affected, to prevent (post-transfusion) graft-versus-host disease.

‘Frozen’ red blood cell concentrate

'Frozen' red blood cell concentrate is a cryopreserved red blood cell concentrate. It is used only in specific situations (a transfusion of red blood cells to patients with rare blood groups and/or who have multiple allo-antibodies). This preparation may be envisaged in very specific cases for autologous transfusions.

‘Autologous’ red blood cell concentrate

'Autologous' red blood cell concentrate may be used only for patients who donated their own blood prior to a planned surgical operation. The retransfusion of the predonated units must meet the same clinical and/or biological criteria as those that apply to allogenic transfusions.


The bags for paediatric use are prepared only as and when required. Some products may be prepared, if required, in very specific situations, upon the detailed opinion of the clinical doctor, and in joint consultation with the doctor of the Transfusion Centre who is in charge of delivering the products.



Leucocyte-depleted standard platelet concentrate

The leucocyte-depleted standard platelet concentrate is a platelet concentrate that is prepared from whole blood (5 to 6 whole blood collections are needed to produce 1 unite of platelets). Platelet concentrates are leucocyte-depleted at all times. The product will keep for 5 days at room temperature and subject to constant stirring. The indications are the same as those set out below for the leucocyte-depleted single unit of platelet concentrate. 

Leucocyte-depleted single unit of platelet concentrate

Leucocyte-depleted single unit of platelet concentrate is a platelet concentrate that is prepared from a platelet pheresis; which means the concentrate contains several units of platelets from the same donor. 


•    The decision to transfuse platelets should not be taken solely on the basis of a number that shows a platelet deficit.
•    The presence of a sever thrombocytopenia, accompanied by clinically significant haemorrhaging that is to be attributed to the platelet deficit, may be considered an imperative indication.
•    In all other cases, the transfusion of platelets is more or less relative and depends on the clinical status of the patient.

Fresh frozen plasma: intermediate product


Fresh frozen plasma

Fresh frozen plasma is obtained through the centrifugation of whole blood or the use of apharesis techniques. This plasma is subsequently subjected to a pharmaceutical process (fractionation) to isolate the proteins and to produce medicines derived from the plasma, the “stable derivatives” (albumin solutions, coagulation factors and immunoglobulins). For Belgian plasma, this process is currently performed by the company by the name of CSLBehring, which subsequently makes the medicines derived from this plasma available on the Belgian market. 

Virally inactivated fresh frozen plasma (VIP)

Virally inactivated fresh frozen plasma (VIP) can be kept for 3 year, at a maximum temperature of -25° C. It requires the Blood Service to perform a viral inactivation process by treating the blood with methylene blue. It is indicated for treating major burns, coagulation disorders, whereby the patient is likely affected by haemostasis factors corroborated by abnormal clotting test results, or where the patient has a clotting factor for which no specific preparation exists.