Whole blood

Whole Blood is no longer available from Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. It is only used as a source material for blood component preparation and is not issued as a final blood component.


In countries using whole blood, indications may include a symptomatic deficit in oxygen-carrying capacity combined with hypovolaemia of sufficient degree to be associated with shock.

Only whole blood stored for less than 24 hours at 20 to 24 ºC can be considered a clinical source of viable platelets or therapeutic levels of labile coagulation Factors V and VIII.


Do not use Whole Blood:

  • if anaemia can be treated with specific medications such as iron, vitamin B12, folic acid or recombinant erythropoietin and when the patient’s clinical condition permits sufficient time for these agents to promote erythropoiesis.
  • when blood volumes can be safely and adequately replaced with other volume expanders such as 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, Hartmann’s Solution or appropriate colloids.
  • to correct coagulation deficiencies when they can be treated better with appropriate components and derivatives.
  • if a symptomatic deficit in oxygen-carrying capacity is better treated with red cells.


Each unit raises the haemoglobin concentration by approximately 10 g/L in an average sized adult.


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