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 c
- 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.