The Visual Inspection Tool is a bench-level tool that depicts variation in the typical appearance of blood components. It was developed for all personnel in the hospital setting who handle blood components for transfusion and, as no two blood components will look exactly the same, should be used in conjunction with other required protocols or work instructions for the visual inspection of components. Please note that blood products such as plasma protein and related products are not addressed in this tool. Terminology used in the Visual Inspection Tool is defined on the terminology page.
Whole blood donations are manufactured into red blood cells (RBC), platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate (see Chapter 2, Blood components, of the Clinical Guide to Transfusion for an overview of manufacturing processes). Many factors influence the quality and appearance of a blood component, including temperature, donor characteristics, and contaminants. Although Canadian Blood Services uses strict protocols to manufacture blood components, blood components may be exposed to conditions that alter their appearance after manufacturing, such as during distribution or storage.