Fractions of Blood

Fractions of blood are simply smaller components of blood used in treating patients for various conditions.

Here are examples of the types of fractions of blood:

Albumin

  • Manufactured in the liver
  • Distributed through the body via the circulatory system
  • Sometime used to treat shock, or as a volume expander
  • Fractions obtained from the plasma of healthy human donor blood
  • Heat treated and generally considered sterile
  • We already consume it when we eat eggs or meat
  • Moves fluid from other tissues into the blood stream for volume expansion purposes
  • Passes freely between mother and fetus
  • Used in chemically reproduced category of pharmaceutical products
  • If your faith normally objects to a blood transfusion, this is considered a “conscience matter and a fraction”

Immune globulins

  • Various proteins that act as antibodies to infection
  • Fractionated from plasma of healthy human donors
  • Pass freely between mother and fetus
  • Used rarely for healthy patients
  • Most are familiar with RhoGAM (which contains immune globulins); given to mothers whose blood is incompatible with their babies (IMPORTANT for Rh-mothers).
  • May theoretically transmit disease, but treated to eliminate contamination where possible
  • If your faith normally objects to a blood transfusion, this is considered a “conscience matter and a fraction”

Clotting factors

  • 13 substances produced mostly by the liver
  • Each acts as one step in the process of clotting the blood
  • Only factors VII, VIII, and IX are available by chemically reproduced technology
  • Rare in most people, but some have undetected clotting problems
  • Hemophiliacs are a good example of people lacking one factor
  • Come from plasma and is not sterilized, therefore carries disease risk, like transfusions
  • If your faith normally objects to a blood transfusion, this is considered a “conscience matter and a fraction”

Platelet, plasma, or hemoglobin derived agents

  • Hemoglobin-derived agents: (sometimes referred to as "artificial blood") have not yet been approved for the health care market in the United States. This is a rapidly developing area of scientific development with new products being developed all the time. Hemoglobin agents may visually appear like blood.
  • Various substances can be isolated from primary components (blood fractions)
  • Some products may be derived from human or animal blood
  • Many plasma-derived substances used in cardiac surgery are used to affect bleeding and may be lifesaving
  • NOTE: Fresh Frozen Plasma or FFP (like platelets and red blood cells) would not be acceptable for those faiths that would refuse blood transfusions

Tissue adhesives, gels, ointment

  • Used rarely, but topically applied in some types of surgery – such as spinal surgery or total joint replacements – to reduce surface bleeding
  • Some of the products in this category are made by processing certain fractional parts of blood plasma or platelets
  • Some of these products are reproduced chemically without fractions
  • Some of these products appear like a powdery substance until mixed and applied
  • If your faith normally objects to a blood transfusion, this is considered a “conscience matter and a fraction”

Cryoprecipitate

  • Mix of proteins and substances with fractions from plasma of multiple healthy donors
  • Rich in certain clotting factors
  • Not sterilized, may contain higher disease risk than normal blood transfusion, since it is taken from many donors
  • Given in emergency circumstances when bleeding cannot be controlled by other means
  • Comes from a blood bank
  • Appears as a milky yellow substance
  • If your faith normally objects to a blood transfusion, this is considered a “conscience matter and a fraction”

For more information:

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett

Laura Bischel, BSN, RN
Blood Management Specialist
Laura.Bischel@providence.org


Sacred Heart Medical Center

SHMC_BMP@providence.org
Download the refusal of blood form