Washed red blood cells are red blood cells which have had most of the plasma, platelets and white blood cells removed and replaced with saline or another type of preservation solution.
The most common reason for using washed red blood cells in transfusion medicine is to prevent the recurrence of severe allergic transfusion reactions that do not respond to medical treatment. The usual cause of these allergic reactions is proteins in the donor plasma. These proteins are removed by the process of washing the red blood cells.
There are multiple methods of washing red cells. These can include automated or manual methods. They can use centrifugation or centrifugation-free methods. The red cells can be re-suspended in saline or other types of special preservative solutions for red cells e.g. SAG-M.
- Prevention of recurrence of severe allergic reactions.
- Reduction in transfusion-related complications.
- Haemagglutination tests.