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Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Product Catalogue

​Red Blood Cells (RBC)

Transfusion Medicine

​Alternate Product Names
  • ​RBC
  • Red Cells
  • PRBC
  • Packed cells
  • ​Support of RBC oxygen carrying capacity in acute or chronic blood loss
    • Typical hemoglobin threshold for transfusion in a clinically stable patient is 70 g/L in adults and pediatric patients, 80-100 g/L in neonates
    • Symptomatic anemia and the underlying patient clinical condition may dictate the need for transfusion with hemoglobin thresholds higher than those listed
  • RBC replacement in exchange transfusion
​Resource Information

Best Transfusion Practice Recommendations:

More Information:
Size/Volume Available
  • ~250 - 350 mL
  • Volume indicated on unit
​Uncrossmatched O Negative
  • Transfuse-only SHR sites: Crossmatched RBC for transfusion are supplied from Saskatoon upon request
  • Northern Saskatchewan referred in sites: Crossmatched RBC for transfusion are supplied from Saskatoon upon request for reference laboratory (complex testing site) investigation
Pretransfusion Testing Requirements
  • ​Group and Screen on current hospital admission
    • Required every 96 hours
      • In Saskatoon this may be extended during the current hospital admission if patient has not been transfused or pregnant in the last 3 months
      • Contact Transfusion Medicine for confirmation
    • Neonate:
      • Infants less than 4 months of age require one group and screen, during initial hospital admission. Contact Transfusion Medicine for confirmation of in-date specimen
    • Pre-admission clinic testing may be valid up to 28 days providing that the patient has not been transfused or pregnant in the last 3 months
    • Contact Transfusion Medicine for confirmation
Forms Required


Transfuse-only SHR sites or referred in specimens:

  • Indicate number of units required in numerals
    • Pediatric/neonatal transfusion: indicate volume of RBC required in mL until volume equals that of an average RBC unit; then order whole unit(s) of RBC
  • Indicate any special requirements if applicable
  • If a patient pre-transfusion Group and Screen specimen needs to be collected, attach the Blood Product Request Form to the Test Request Form and send it together to Transfusion Medicine
Transfuse-only SHR sites or referred in specimens:
  • ​Uncrossmatched blood may be requested in life threatening/emergent circumstances
    • Patient identification must be presented to Transfusion Medicine on a Blood Product Request Form prior to the issue of uncrossmatched blood
    • The physician must document and sign that the use of uncrossmatched blood was necessary in the patient’s chart
  • If patient presents with an Antibody Card please photocopy it and forward it along with the test request form
  • Healthcare professionals should not send for product pick-up prior to confirming that patient informed consent for transfusion has been obtained and that an intravenous line is in place for blood infusion
  • Information about approved transfusion of Crossmatched Incompatible RBC  information can be found on the Laboratory Services Manual
  • RBC must not be stored in refrigerators outside the Transfusion Medicine Laboratory
  • Transfusion of RBC must be completed within 4 hours of unit release from the Transfusion Medicine Laboratory
  • Untransfused RBC may be accepted back into inventory only if returned to the Transfusion Medicine Laboratory within 60 minutes of issue


​If you choose to print this information, it is valid only on date of print.

Laboratory Controlled Document LSM-65 v4

Last Modified: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 |
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