The technique involving filtration of diluted blood enables the separate analysis of the flow properties of different cell subpopulations. This study was designed to assess the changes occurring in the flow properties and function of blood cells in stored bank blood and salvaged blood compared to patient blood in a given clinical situation. We measured hydrogen peroxide production by neutrophils and the filterability, through 5 μm Nucleopore filters, of isolated red blood cells and of diluted blood. Samples were obtained from patients undergoing aortic surgery and blood intended for transfusion: either salvaged during surgery or stored bank blood. Both salvaged and bank blood were much less filterable than patient blood, with reduced deformability of both red and white blood cells. However, salvaged blood contained highly activated neutrophils with a prolonged transit time of the ‘fast-flowing’ cells in the analysis compared to bank blood. Bank blood contained significantly more particles which acted as pore-blockers. Cells in bank and salvaged blood therefore have markedly abnormal flow and biochemical properties compared to patient blood.