Rarely a red blood cell or platelet product needs to be washed prior to transfusion.


Washing involves replacing the suspending solution in the product with sterile normal saline. This is best done using automated equipment with closed processing.



(1) unexplained allergic reaction to plasma or additives after a careful workup

(2) IgA deficient patient with anaphylactic reaction to IgA (if IgA product not available

(3) reduce potassium in a red blood cell product (neonate in the ICU, other)


The primary significance is that the outdate of the product becomes critical.



Outdate Once Processing Starts

red blood cells


24 hours


room temperature

4 hours


Other issues:

(1) Some product (red blood cells or platelets) are lost during the washing.

(2) The risk of bacterial contamination is increased.


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