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What are blood and blood components used for?
- Red blood cells (RBCs) carry oxygen throughout the body. RBCs are often needed during surgery, during trauma emergencies and to help Sickle cell patients.
- Platelets facilitate blood clotting. Platelet products are often needed to help leukemia and cancer patients, as well as those undergoing major surgery.
- Plasma contains additional clotting factors and is the liquid that carries other blood components throughout the body. It is needed for burn patients or those with clotting disorders.
1, 10, 20, 50 or more units of red blood cells
6 units of red blood cells
6 units of platelets
40 units of red blood cells
30 units of platelets
25 units of fresh frozen plasma
Bone Marrow Transplant
120 units of platelets
20 units of red blood cells
20 units of platelets
Sickle cell is a disease inherited from parent to child that affects red blood cells. Sickle cell disease now affects about one out of every 400 African Americans in the United States.
Certain rare blood types occur most commonly in certain populations, such as the African American population. There is great likelihood of finding type matched or compatible blood for sickle cell patients from among African American donors because of the genetic similarities shared. Often when a sickle cell patient receives blood from non-African American donors, antibodies to the blood are developed. Once these antibodies are formed, it is then very difficult to find matched blood for these patients. The availability of compatible blood is critical when sickle cell patients face life-threatening situations such as stroke or other severe crises, where blood transfusions are required. Sickle cell is the number one reason African Americans should give blood.
Click here to learn more about the importance of African American blood donations.
Types of Donations
Whole Blood Donations
Whole blood donations are the most common types of donations for the community's supply. Whole blood donations are actually a little less than a pint and are in constant demand for victims of accidents, cancer, etc. or for use in surgeries. The blood donation is usually separated into components to help more than one patient.
An autologous donation is the donation of blood for yourself, for upcoming surgery or other transfusion. There is a fee for the processing of these units to cover the cost of collection, testing and delivery to the hospital. Ask your doctor if you will need blood and if you can donate your own blood for the surgery. Your doctor must place the order with Mississippi Blood Services.
You should begin donating your blood several weeks prior to your surgery date. In addition, you may donate a minimum of 72 hours prior to your surgery. This is to allow time for test results and processing of your blood.
When you arrive at Mississippi Blood Services for an autogolus donation, you will need an order from your doctor (several weeks before your surgery) and some form of identification with your Social Security Number. The autologous paperwork and donation will take 1 to 2 hours.
A directed blood donation is made for a specific person usually a parent or child by friends or relatives. Directed donations must have a physician order and the person donating must bring this order with him to the drawing site. There is a fee for the processing of these units to cover the cost of collection, testing and delivery to the hospital.
Mississippi Blood Services (MBS) does not recommend, but rather discourages, directed donations. Directed donations are not medically necessary procedures and no information is available to suggest that directed donor blood is safer than transfusion of routine volunteer donor blood. Directed donors may be hesitant to self-defer because of the pressure to donate.
This procedure is designed for scheduled surgeries or treatments, not emergency situations. Directed donations can be made at MBS Main Center or one of MBS' drawing stations (but not on blood mobiles). To allow time for any repeat testing, donations should be made at least five processing days (Mon.-Fri.) prior to intended use.
Apheresis Platelet Donations
Apheresis is a special kind of automated donation that allows whole blood to be withdrawn from the donor and separated into its component parts via a cell separator. All components, except for the platelets, are returned to the donor. This procedure takes approximately 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. Your body replaces platelets within 48-72 hours and you can give platelets every 72 hours.
Platelets are essential for blood clotting and often used by patients with bleeding disorders such as leukemia and aplastic anemia. Apheresis products or components are also used for cancer patients, patients with blood disorders, trauma and burn victims, organ transplant and heart surgeries.
Automated Double Red Cell Donation
This donation process allows a donor to give twice the number of red blood cells through the use of a Haemonetics® machine, which separates the different blood components. Only the red cells are kept, while the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.
The interval between donations is twice as long; where a whole blood donor must wait 56 days before donating again, a double red cell donor must wait 112 days.
A smaller needle is used and the donor is stuck only once in the donation process; all other blood components plus saline are returned to the donor, so the donor is less likely to feel dehydrated.