Use of blood components in clinical practice
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Use of blood components in clinical practice

Jo Shorthouse Patient blood management practitioner, NHS Blood and Transplant, East Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber, England
Sasha Wilson Patient blood management practitioner, NHS Blood and Transplant, London, England

Why you should read this article
  • To familiarise yourself with the procedures involved in blood component transfusion

  • To understand how to reduce the risks of preventable harm to patients

  • To refresh your knowledge of the relevant guidance on appropriate blood component transfusion in adult patients

Blood component transfusion is a procedure undertaken by nurses across a range of clinical specialties. An understanding of why blood components are used, and the appropriate use of these components, is essential for all nurses involved in the transfusion process to ensure that transfusions are safe and effective, as well as to reduce the risk of preventable harm to patients. This article outlines guidance on appropriate transfusion in adult patients, focusing on the most commonly used components: red cells, platelets, fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and cryoprecipitate. It discusses what these components are and their use in adults, to reduce the risk of inappropriate transfusions. The aim of this article is to develop nurses’ knowledge of blood transfusion, to support them in improving clinical practice in this area.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11289

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Shorthouse J, Wilson S (2019) Use of blood components in clinical practice. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11289

Published online: 23 April 2019

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