Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Facts About Blood Donation

The following information has been extracted from the Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust Website and compiled here.

Who needs blood?

The need for blood is great. 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. And with an aging population and advances in medical treatments and procedures requiring blood transfusions, the demand for blood continues to increase.

Who donates blood?

To be eligible to donate blood, a person must be in good health and generally must be at least 18 years of age (although in some cases younger people are permitted to donate blood, with parental consent.)

What are the criteria for blood donation?

Minimum weight requirements may vary among facilities, but generally, donors must weigh at least 45 kgs Most blood banks have no upper age limit. All donors must pass the physical and health history examinations given prior to donation.
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).

Who should not donate blood?

Anyone who has ever used intravenous drugs (illegal IV drugs)
Anyone with a positive antibody test for HIV (AIDS virus)
Anyone who has had hepatitis
Anyone who has/has had cancer
Anyone who has risk factors for HBS Ag,HCV,VDRL,Maleria.

Where is blood donated?

Blood donations should be made only at licensed blood banks, Voluntary blood donation camps conducted by recognized organizations and at hospital-based donor centers.

What are the constituents of each unit of blood ?

Typically, each donated unit of blood, referred to as whole blood, is separated into multiple components, such as red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitated AHF (antihemophilic factor). Presently CCT collects and provides whole blood only. However in the near future, CCT proposes to possess technology for a State of the Art Components Unit and provide blood components too. Each blood component can be transfused to a different individual, each with different needs.

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, and syphilis.

The specific tests currently performed are listed below:
* Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)
* Hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc)
* Hepatitis C virus antibody (anti-HCV)
* HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibody (anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2)
* Serologic test for syphilis

What kind of precautions are taken while collecting blood?

Besides conducting all relevant medical tests to ascertain the eligibility of individual donors’ , blood is collected in the utmost hygienic conditions using disposable blood bags, ,needles and syringes under the supervision of qualified lab technicians.

How is blood stored and used?

Each unit of whole blood normally is stored under refrigeration for a maximum of 42 days.

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.

What is the availability of blood?

The blood supply level fluctuates throughout the year. For example, after the Kargil war or Gujarat earth quake blood supply swelled to very high levels, due to the overwhelming response of donors but otherwise is very scarce to obtain.

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 draws or to organize blood donation camps.

What is the most common blood type?

The approximate distribution of blood types in the population is as follows.

* O Rh-positive 38 Percent
* O Rh-negative 7 Percent
* A Rh-positive 34 Percent
* A Rh-negative 6 Percent
* B Rh-positive 9 Percent
* B Rh-negative 2 Percent
* AB Rh-positive 3 Percent
* AB Rh-negative 1 Percent

In an emergency, anyone can receive type O red blood cells, and type AB individuals can receive red blood cells of any ABO type. Therefore, people with type O blood are known as “universal donors,” and those with type AB blood are known as “universal recipients.” In addition, AB plasma donors can give to all blood types.

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