Not finding the answers
Please use the link below to send your question to our Quality Assurance Department and they will respond to you promptly.
Your Blood Bank Questions Answered
How much blood is donated each year?
According to the 2005 Nationwide Blood Collection and Utilization Survey Report, about 14 million units of whole blood are donated each year. America’s Blood Centers estimates that more than 7.5 million units of whole blood were collected in 2008.
What are the criteria for blood donation?
To be eligible to donate blood, a person must be in good health and generally must be at least 17 years of age (although some states permit younger people, with parental consent, to donate). Minimum weight requirements may vary among facilities, but generally, donors must weigh at least 110 pounds. Most blood banks have no upper age limit. All donors must pass the physical and health history examinations given prior to donation. Volunteer donors provide nearly all blood used for transfusion in the United States. The donor’s body replenishes the fluid lost from donation in 24 hours. It may take up to two months to replace the lost red blood cells. Whole blood can be donated once every eight weeks (56 days). Two units of red blood cells can be donated at one time, using a process known as red cell apheresis. This type of donation can be made every 16 weeks.
What should you do before donating?
In order to make the donation experience pleasant you should maintain a healthy diet and the appropriate fluid intake. Also, note the name and dosage of any medications you are taking. Usually, medication does not keep you from donating, but the reason for taking the medication might.
How does the donation process work?
Donating is safe and simple. The entire process takes about 45 to 60 minutes. The actual donation process works like this:
Where is blood donated?
There are many places where blood donations can be made. Bloodmobiles (mobile blood drives on specially constructed buses) travel to high schools, colleges, churches, and community organizations. People can also donate at community blood centers and hospital-based donor centers. Many people donate at blood drives at their places of work.
Who should not donate blood?
What can you do if you aren’t eligible to donate?
While a given individual may be unable to donate, he or she may be able to recruit a suitable donor. Blood banks are always in need of volunteers to assist at blood drives or to organize mobile blood drives. In addition, monetary donations are always welcome to help ensure that blood banks can continue to provide safe blood to those in need.
What is Apheresis?
The word apheresis is derived from the Greek work “Aphaerisis” meaning “to take away”. Apheresis, an increasingly common procedure, is the process of removing a specific component of the blood, such as platelets, and returning the remaining components, such as red blood cells and plasma, to the donor. This process allows more of one particular part of the blood to be collected than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. Apheresis is also performed to collect red blood cells, plasma (liquid part of the blood), and granulocytes (white blood cells).
The apheresis donation procedure takes longer than that for whole blood donation. A whole blood donation takes about 10–15 minutes to collect the blood, while an apheresis donation may take about one to two hours.
Who needs blood?
The need for blood is great—on any given day, an average of 40,000 units of donated blood are used each day in the U.S. and Canada. Blood transfusions often are needed for trauma victims — due to accidents and burns — heart surgery, organ transplants, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease and Thalassemia. NBDRC reports that in 2001, nearly 29 million units of blood components were transfused. And with an aging population and advances in medical treatments and procedures requiring blood transfusions, the demand for blood continues to increase.
What are the components of blood used to treat?
When you come to donate a unit of blood, that unit is not kept in its whole blood form. The unit is centrifuged at high speeds to separate the constituent components from each other. Since red blood cells are the heaviest, they sink to the bottom of the bag. The platelet rich plasma and cryoprecipitate factors settle near the middle of the bag. Each of these components are separated into different bags for treatment as follows:
One unit of whole blood can help save as many three lives.
How much blood can a patient use?
It is difficult to put an exact figure on each type of procedure or illness, but listed below are general estimates for the top blood using events:
Is it safe to donate blood?
Yes. Sterile procedures and disposable equipment are used. Each donor’s blood is collected through a new sterile needle, which is discarded after use. No one has contracted any infectious diseases from donating blood.
What tests are performed on donated blood?
After blood has been drawn, it is tested for ABO group (blood type) and Rh type (positive or negative), as well as for any unexpected red blood cell antibodies that may cause problems in a recipient. Screening tests also are performed for evidence of donor infection with hepatitis B and C viruses, human immunodeficiency viruses HIV-1 and HIV-2, human T-lymphotropic viruses HTLV-I and HTLV-II, syphilis and West Nile Virus (WNV).
The specific tests currently performed are listed below:
What is NAT?
The nucleic acid test (NAT) detects the presence of HIV, HCV (Hepatitis C) and WNV (West Nile Virus) in blood using a semi-automated system. It further ensures the safety of blood by permitting earlier detection of HIV, HCV and WNV infections in donors. The NAT system is capable of detecting a few more infectious donors than other tests because it detects viral genes rather than antibodies or antigens. Detections of viral genes permits detection earlier in the infection since the appearance of antibodies requires time for the donor to develop an immune response, and detection of antigens requires time for a higher level of virus to appear in the bloodstream.
General Information About Blood
What is blood?
Blood is made of four components:
How much blood is in the body?
About 8 percent of a person’s weight is blood. The amount of blood varies according to height and weight, but an average man has about 12 pints of blood, and the average woman has about 9 pints.
What does “blood type” mean?
There are two systems that make up blood type, ABO and Rh. All people belong to one of four inherited blood groups: A, B, AB or O. The letters A and B refer to the kind of antigens that are found on an individual’s red blood cells. An antigen is a protein or carbohydrate on the red cell that triggers an immune response, such as the formation of antibodies. There are four blood types in the ABO system:
What are the blood types and their percentages?
O positive - 37.4% of population. 1 person in 3
A positive - 35.7% of population. 1 person in 3
B positive - 8.5% of population. 1 person in 12
O negative - 6.6% of population. 1 person in 15
A negative - 6.3% of population. 1 person in 16
AB positive - 3.4% of population. 1 person in 29
B negative - 1.5% of population. 1 person in 67
AB negative - 0.6% of population. 1 person in 167
What is rare blood?
The discovery of many additional blood group factors or antigens outside the ABO/Rh systems has led to the identification of rare blood types. The term “rare blood” implies that only a very small percentage of the population share the same combination of blood group antigens. Racial origin influences the frequency of these blood types.
What fees are associated with blood?
While donated blood is free, there are significant costs associated with collecting, testing, preparing components, labeling, storing and shipping blood; recruiting and educating donors; and quality assurance. As a result, processing fees are charged to recover costs. Processing fees for individual blood components vary considerably. Processing fees for one specific component also may vary in different geographic regions. Hospitals charge for any additional testing that may be required, such as the crossmatch, as well as for the administration of the blood.
What is the availability of blood?
The blood supply level fluctuates throughout the year. During holidays and in the summer, levels tend to fall because donations decline, but demand remains stable or even increases. In addition, policies recommended by the Food and Drug Administration can eliminate, or defer, donors who may be at risk for variant Cruetzfeldt-Jacob disease (vCJD), the human variety of the disease that is commonly known as “mad-cow” disease. Also, FDA can recommend that a potential donor who may be at risk for a transfusion-transmissible disease such as malaria be deferred. These policies reduce the number of people who are eligible to donate.