Storage and handling of blood components

Blood components and products must be stored within the temperature range specified for that particular component or product.

Whole blood, red cells, fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate and platelet concentrates should be stored at temperatures in compliance with the storage temperature requirements, as detailed in the table below.

Blood Component Shelf life and Storage Temperature Range
Blood component Shelf-life Storage temperature range Comments

Whole blood (Fresh Unrefrigerated)

24 hours

20–24 ºC

All blood refrigerators, including theatre and other holding refrigerators, must comply with AS 3864.1, AS 3864.2 (1, 2) as amended from time to time.

Red cells


Leucocyte Depleted

42 days with the appropriate additives

2–6 ºC

Paediatric Leucocyte Depleted

35 days

2–6 ºC

Washed Leucocyte Depleted

28 days if resuspended in additive solution

2–6 ºC

Fresh frozen plasma

Cryodepleted plasma


12 months

At –25 ºC or below

Plasma freezers must comply with AS 3864.1, AS 3864.2,(1, 2) as amended from time to time.


5 days

20–24 ºC

Platelets components must be agitated gently and continuously in a single layer on a platelet agitator.

Key points

  • Keep handling of refrigerated components outside of refrigeration to a minimum to ensure that maximum temperature requirements are not exceeded.

  • Red cell components must not exceed 30 minutes at room temperature in each occasion according to the AABB Technical Manual (3)

  • Maintain components in a controlled temperature environment until administered

  • Handle and store components in a way that minimises the possibility of product tampering

  • Alarm set points of components within 0.5 ºC of the storage temperature range

Fractionated plasma products must be stored according to the information on the product packaging or the product insert.

Details for storage and shelf-life of plasma-derived therapeutic products can be found in respective product information sheets.



  1. Standards Australia on behalf of Committee HE-020. AS 3864.1-2012 Medical refrigeration equipment - For the storage of blood and blood products - Manufacturing requirements. NSW, 2012.
  2. Standards Australia on behalf of Committee HE-020. AS 3864.2-2012 Medical refrigeration equipment - For the storage of blood and blood products - User related requirements for care, maintenance, performance verification and calibration. NSW, 2012.
  3. Roback JD (ed). Administration of Blood Components. Chapters 21, AABB Technical Manual. 17th edition. AABB Press, Bethesda, 2011.