Since then, blood fractionation has led to a more focused form of delivering blood components which helps to refine treatment and improve outcomes (Fuh).
Although some patients may need units of whole blood (in such applications as splenectomy, where a lot of blood loss can be expected), many patients need to have a supplement to some function which blood supplies. Those who are chronic bleeders, or suffering from shock-induced bleeding due to loss of platelets, may be helped by an infusion of packed platelets. The same is true for patients suffering from thrombocytopenia due to disease, such as a major infection (like septicemia) or leukemia. Those patients who are anemic (again due to trauma, but also due to certain forms of anemia or leukemia) may benefit from the addition of packed red blood cells.
In the field, soldiers who have bled a lot due to trauma may receive packed red blood cells plus Ringer’s solution as a substitute for whole blood transfusions. This is mainly due to the fact that packed red blood cells are easier to store and deliver than whole blood, particularly in a battlefield situation.
Another factor which has made blood transfusion continue to be well-used is the growing list of infectious organisms which are tested in donated blood, and safe donor practices. This began in the 1970’s with screening for type-B hepatitis, and was extended in the 1980’s to hepatitis A, hepatitis C, AIDS virus (HTLV or HIV), and a series of additional viruses, both antigens (viral coats or cores) and antibodies to those viruses. While antibody and antigen tests have eliminated most of the danger of transmitting viral or bacterial infection, there is a gap between infection with some diseases, and their recognition through tests. AIDS tests, for example, do not detect antibodies for several weeks after initial infection (as they can hide out in the T-cells). For this