Commonly Used Terms in Blood Banking

Adsorbed Serum

“Adsorbed serum” simply refers to the serum “left over” after an adsorption is done (note that the term “adsorbed plasma” is equivalent, except that the sample is anticoagulated; i.e., adsorbed serum applies when the original sample is in a red-top tube of clotted blood, while adsorbed plasma applies when the sample is in a purple-top tube of unclotted blood). This is a confusing term to people that are learning blood banking. When we perform an adsorption, the intention is to use specific red blood cells to bind some of the antibodies in the serum, and leave others behind (this is most commonly done as an autoadsorption, meaning we use the patient’s own red cells to “soak up” autoantibodies, leaving behind antibodies against other people’s RBCs for analysis. The antibodies that do not bind can then be analyzed and identified. This is further discussed in the description of autoadsorption.

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