• Whole blood provides red cells, volume, stable coagulation factors (VII, XI), and others
  • It does not have functional platelets and labile coagulation factors (V and VIII)
  • It is also used as a raw material from which other blood components are prepared
  • 1 unit is about 450 ml of blood; obtained from a single donation.


  • Red cell replacement in acute blood loss (haemorrhage) with significant hypovolaemia such as in trauma, surgery, invasive procedures, GIT haemorhage
  • Patients in need of red cell transfusion where red cell concentrates or suspensions are not available (consider
    adding furosemide to avoid fluid overload)
  • Only Specialist Use: exchange transfusion in neonates, using less than 5-day old blood units


  • Transfusion must be started within 30 minutes of removal from the refrigerator, and completed within 4 hours of starting
  • Storage is 2-6°C in approved blood bank refrigerator with temperature charts and alarm
  • WB is contraindicated in severe chronic anaemia and incipient cardiac failure (risk of volume overload)
  • Should not be warmed unless indicated (improvised warming method commonly used in health facilities is not