Introduction. The study aimed at in vivo assessment of the impact of administered red blood cells (RBCs) concentrates on the plasma levels of K+, lactate, pH, Na+, Ca++ and glucose, depending on the volume and age of administered products. Biochemical changes occurring during the storage of these products were studied in vitro simultaneously.
Materials and methods. Arterial blood samples were collected in vivo from patients before and after RBCs transfusion and plasma levels of biochemical parameters were determined. A group of 80 RBCs samples was analyzed simultaneously, with the samples being equally distributed throughout the recommended storage time of 1–35 days.
Results. The age of RBCs concentrate results in increased potassium and lactate levels and decreased pH, sodium and glucose levels in the RBCs samples. The concentrations were in the following ranges: potassium 4.0–40.5 mmol/L; lactate 4.1–28.0 mmol/L; pH 7.0–6.65; sodium 137–116 mmol/L; glucose 29.0–14.0 mmol/L. A prospectively selected group of 46 patients were administered a total of 354 RBCs units. The mean age of RBCs concentrates was 16.18 days. The number of administered RBCs units ranged from 2 to 38, a mean of 7.7 RBCs units/patient. The administration of 1 RBCs unit was associated with a mean in vivo increase of the potassium level by 0.07 mmol/L and lactate level by 0.13 mmol/L.
Conclusion. The administration of larger amounts of RBCs concentrates may lead to an increase in the patient’s plasma levels of potassium and lactate. This increase is proportional to the age and volume of RBCs.

Key words: red blood cells, transfusion, hyperkalemia, lactate

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