If you ever need a transfusion of some sort, then you may be a given a wide variety of different products. These products differ depending on your specific needs, and you may be given something called a leukopak at some point. This type of product is quite different from a normal red blood cell or platelet type of transfusion, so keep reading to learn what it is and when it may be used.

What Is A Leukopak?

A leukopak is the name for a type of blood product that is commonly referred to as a leukapheresis product. This type of product is one that contains the white blood cells from the blood. These cells are collected from a donor using a process called leukapheresis, where the white blood cells are removed from the blood and the remaining cells are returned to the donor.

Due to the way that the cells are collected from the donor, the white blood cells alone can be transfused to the patient. While white blood cells alone are sometimes collected, other times the platelets are left in the collected material along with the white blood cells. 

So when the cells are collected, a transfusion bag is created that contains monocytes, lymphocytes, and other cells like granulocytes, which include neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils. These cells are collected and compressed into a transfusion where they are in larger numbers than they would be in the normal peripheral blood. Many leukopak products can be customized. This means that larger amounts of cells like lymphocytes can be added to the bag.

When Is A Leukopak Needed?

Leukopaks and specialty white blood cell products can be used in a variety of situations. The basic infusion can be provided when the white blood cell count is dangerously low, like when an individual has HIV or AIDS. It can also be used in situations where the immune system is compromised and there is a risk of an infection developing. 

Typically, the leukopaks are provided in a hospital setting after blood tests are completed and an analysis reveals a low white blood cell count. However, they may also be provided as part of a treatment protocol, so you may need to receive a white blood cell infusion on a regular basis. 

While some individuals can react negatively to the white blood cells that are transfused from a donor, many individuals tolerate the infusions. If you have a specific disorder or disease that requires careful consideration of transfused materials, then special donors can be located and you can receive products from the same individual numerous times.