Glycerol is added to red cells as a cryoprotective agent. The red cells are then frozen at or below -65°C. Frozen red cells may be stored for up to 10 years or sometimes longer if there is a particular need for specific units.
Prior to transfusion, glycerol must be removed from the thawed component by washing the red cells with sodium chloride. After washing, the red cells are resuspended in additive solution and must be used within 24 hours. There will be some loss of red cells during the freezing and thawing process. When requesting frozen red cells, it should be noted that thawing and processing time is several hours.
When should I use this modification?
For patients with rare red cell phenotypes or who have multiple red cell antibodies or for autologous collections where liquid-preserved blood cannot meet the patient’s demands.