How Donated Blood Is Used

No compromise is made when it comes to technology. Your single donation of 350 – 450 ml blood is separated into different components, benefiting as many as three patients.

Blood is made up of different components and, invariably, a patient needs a transfusion of just a particular component. Utilizing whole blood is wasteful, and sometimes even undesirable. It is now the standard practice of all modern blood banks to separate blood into components and ensure the optimum utilization of this precious resource.

Whole blood has cellular components comprising red blood corpuscles, white blood corpuscles, platelets suspended in plasma solution (liquid plasma consisting of water, electrolytes, albumin, globulin, coagulation factors and other proteins).

Red Cells
The majority of donated blood goes to people with cancer, as well as people who have suffered traumatic accidents, burns or who undergo surgery and patients of anaemia. (Low levels of haemoglobin due to various reasons.)

Plasma contains very important proteins, nutrients and clotting factors which help to prevent and stop bleeding. It is required in bleeding patients with coagulation deficiency problems secondary to liver disease, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, coagulation factor deficiencies.

Platelets are used to help clot the blood and seal wounds in surgical and cancer patients. Leukaemia and chemotherapy treatments can reduce a patient’s platelet count. They are needed in cases of bleeding due to severe thrombocytopenia and platelet function defects.

Blood has a Short Shelf Life
All blood components have a short shelf life, creating the need for a constant blood supply.

Platelets – up to 5 days (at 220C – 240C)
Red cells – 42 days (at 20C – 60C)
Plasma – up to one year (at -300C and lower temperature i.e. freezing temperature)