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January 26, 1976

The Use of Packed Red Blood Cells

Author Affiliations

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore
From the Department of Laboratory Medicine and the Blood Bank, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

JAMA. 1976;235(4):389. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260300015020

THE DEVELOPMENT of plastic containers with connected satellite bags for the collection of whole blood ushered in a new era of blood component therapy. Even before that time, it was recognized that a deficiency in red blood cell (RBC) oxygen-carrying capacity was best treated by the transfusion of packed red blood cells (PRBC). Since then, the need to provide ever-increasing amounts of blood components such as platelet concentrate and fresh frozen plasma has provided the impetus for an increase in the use of PRBC. Today, the only remaining legitimate indication for the transfusion of whole blood is acute blood loss. Many transfusion therapists have even advocated giving one third to one half of all transfusions in the operating room as PRBC. Such practice has been shown to be not only possible but successful if combined when necessary with salt solution or plasma protein fraction.1

Is this ever-increasing emphasis on