Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What happens to donated blood?

Every summer, the American Red Cross faces blood shortages. According to an article by the Associated Press:

About one in every seven hospitalized patients requires a transfusion, a staggering 15 million bags administered in the U.S. each year - with few donations to spare. Every year, parts of the country experience spot shortages.

This means we often don't keep blood on hand long enough for it to go through the break down process and need to be thrown out.

I know the question you are wondering now.

What happens to donated blood?

Check it out on redcrossblood.org or below:

Step 1: The Donation
  • Donor registers
  • Health history and mini physical are completed
  • About 1 pint of blood and several small test tubes are collected from each donor
  • The bag, test tubes and the donor record are labeled with an identical bar code label to keep track of the donation
  • The donation is stored in iced coolers until it is transported to a Red Cross center

Step 2: Processing
  • Donated blood is scanned into a computer database
  • Most blood is spun in centrifuges to separate the transfusable components - red cells, platelets and plasma
  • The primary components like plasma, can be further manufactured into components such as cryoprecipitate
  • Red cells are the leuko-reduced
  • Single donor platelets are leukoreduced and bacterially tested
  • Test tubes are sent for testing

Step 3: Testing
  • Steps 2 and 3 take place in parallel
  • The test tubes are received in one of five Red Cross national testing laboratories
  • A dozen tests are performed on each unit of donated blood - to establish the blood type for infectious diseases
  • Test results are transferred electronically to the manufacturing facility within 24 hours
  • If a test result is positive, the unit is discharged and the donor is notified, test results are confidential and are only shared with the donor, except as may be required by law

Step 4: Storage
  • When test results are received, units suitable for transfusion are labeled and stored
  • Red cells are stored in refrigerators at 6 degrees Celsius for up to 42 days
  • Platelets are stored at room temperature in agitators for up to five days
  • Plasma and cryo are frozen and stored in freezers for up to one year

Step 5: Distribution
  • Blood is available to be shipped to hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The American Red Cross-North Texas Region does not moderate comments prior to posting, and we gladly welcome your comments — supportive, dissenting, questioning or otherwise. In general, we do not delete or censor comments unless they:

· contain excessive profanity
· contain harsh or offensive language
· use flaming or threatening language
· are abusive
· are off-topic or an inappropriate tangent
· are blatantly spam
· promote or advertise businesses
· personally attack the blogger or other commenters

While the American Red Cross-North Texas Region seeks to inspire, educate and excite its readers, this blog is a resource for the community and inappropriate comments will not be allowed. Participants who violate this Comment Policy may be blocked from future access and/or commenting on this blog.