Colour legend
Example(s) of typical appearance
Example(s) of a change in appearance

Icterus, also known as jaundice, describes the yellow discolouration of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes due to high bilirubin content in blood. A plasma unit with icterus may be acceptable for transfusion. 

Causes of icterus in a plasma unit are donor related and may be related to: 

  • Recovered non-infectious hepatitis or subclinical liver disease (note that donors with infectious hepatitis or active non-infectious hepatitis would be ineligible to donate) 
  • Inherited liver disorders (e.g., Gilbert’s Syndrome) 
  • Gallstones 

Visual appearance 

  • Bright yellow to greenish-brown 

Two units lay on a white surface side by side; the dark red buffy coat unit is on the left and a yellow liquid is in the unit on the right.
Separation of buffy coat (left) and plasma (right) obtained from donor with known Gilbert's syndrome, a condition characterized by the liver's inability to process bilirubin. Note the bright yellow plasma colour, suggesting high levels of unconjugated bilirubin. 


A close up view of the tubing extending out of the top of two buffy coat units.
Brighter yellow plasma from donor with known Gilbert's syndrome (top and left) compared to typical plasma colour (below and right).