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

Lipemia is the presence of excessive amounts of lipid particles in the blood.  Lipemia is not objectively measured. Because lipemic blood samples may interfere with donor testing for infectious diseases, its presence is subjectively identified although not measured. When the presence of lipemia interferes with testing, these units are discarded and are not distributed. 

Lipemia in an RBC unit results from donor factors: 

  • Fatty meals before blood donation 
  • Chronic conditions such as hypercholesterolemia 

Visual appearance 

  • Lipemia may result in a lighter shade of red, cloudiness and decreased lucency of the unit.   
  • The appearance of a lipemic RBC unit has been compared to a strawberry milkshake. 
  • Lipemia may result in a milky white appearance.