Donating blood is a simple and relatively painless procedure that can help save lives. A person who gives blood for this purpose is called a donor. Blood donation is extremely important because it is the only way to maintain sufficient blood supplies for medical treatment.
Three hundred thousand pints of Red blood cells are used in the Sri Lanka each year. Blood is used to help numerous disease conditions of many patients. Donated blood can help to restore a person's blood loss after surgery, accident, or childbirth, and improve the blood's ability to carry oxygen. It may use to improve the immunity of a patient suffering from cancer or leukemia and other diseases. Some patients are transfusion dependent since they cannot produce normal red cells due to genetic abnormality or an accrued disease condition in the bone marrow, thallaseamia and myelofibrosis are well-known examples.
Except in rare situations, donated blood is separated into its components (platelets, plasma, red and white cells, and clotting factors), and administered to a patient in need of that specific component.
There is no risk of contacting disease if you donate blood, because new, sterile equipment is used for each donor.
To protect the Nation's blood supply (and blood recipients), each donor is carefully screened to make sure he or she is in good health. At the donation center, a donor will be asked his or her name and address, and this information will be verified. His or her pulse and blood pressure are taken. The donor is asked if he or she has ever had a condition that might disqualify him or her as a donor; for example, hepatitis, malaria, heart disease, AIDS and most forms of cancer would make someone unsuitable as a donor. If a person's blood pressure is too high or too low, if she is pregnant, or if he or she has had major surgery recently, he or she will be asked to wait some time before donating.
After the screening, the donor is seated in a special reclining chair or lies down on a bed. The person drawing the blood wraps a tourniquet around the donor's upper arm; by restricting the flow of blood returning from the hand to the heart, the veins become more prominent and easier to find. The person drawing the blood inserts a needle into the vein. The needle is attached to a collection bag. You will feel a slight sting as the needle goes in, but the rest of the procedure should be painless. The blood flows through a tube into a sterile plastic bag that holds around one pint (450 ml) of blood, also called one unit. People usually donate one unit at a time. The average man has 10 to 12 pints of blood in his body, while the average woman has 8 to 9 pints. The donor then lies still and quietly while the blood is collected, which takes only about 10 minutes.
When the unit, or pint, of blood is collected, the needle is removed and an adhesive bandage placed over the spot where the needle had been inserted. The donor is asked to lie still for a few more moments, and then offered a drink and refreshment to replenish him or herself. Sometimes donating blood can cause lightheadedness, and it's important to not move too quickly or else dizziness can occur. You will be told to drink plenty of liquids to replace lost fluids and to avoid strenuous activity for the remainder of the day. Your blood volume will return to normal within hours after donating blood if you follow the guidelines for drinking liquids. It takes several weeks, however, to replace donated red blood cells.
The whole procedure from registration to leaving of session takes less than an hour.
The donated blood is sealed in a special plastic bag that contains substances that will keep it from clotting (anticoagulants) and will preserve it. Refrigerated, red blood cells are useable for 35 to 42 days. Blood components, however, can be preserved for much longer in the case of Fresh Frozen Plasma and Cryoprecipitate up to 1 year. Red blood cells can be preserved up to 10 years, if frozen. However life time of platelet is only 5 days.
A sample of the donated blood is taken for testing. In Sri Lanka It is checked for infectious diseases like AIDS, syphilis, Hepatitis B & C and for Malaria.
All the donated blood units are typed for the blood groups. Human blood falls into four major groups, A, B, AB and O; the types get their names from certain molecules found on the surface of the red blood cells. If a person receives a donation of an incompatible blood type, the blood cells can clump together, a dangerous and possibly fatal situation. Type O blood can be received by persons with A, B, or AB blood (which is why type O is sometimes called the "universal donor"), but a person with Type O blood can only Type O blood. All the patients are given their own group of blood unless it is an emergency. It is also important to match the Rh factor of the blood, which can be positive or negative.
Anyone in good health can donate blood. It is generally recommended that the donor be over age 18 (although some states allow younger persons to donate, with their parent's permission) and weigh at least 50 kilogram’s. The donor's body will replenish the donated blood quickly. A donor can donate whole blood once every 4 months. There are several special donation procedures. Persons who are expecting to undergo surgery may opt to donate several pints of their own blood, which is stored and given back to them during the surgery. This is called an autologus transfusion.
A donor may give only a specified component of the blood, which is extracted by machine from the donated blood before the donated blood, is returned to the donor's body. This is a procedure called apheresis. Component donor like aphaeresis platelet donor can donate platelet once in 2 weeks)
Whole blood donation Vs aphaeresis donation
Reagent red cell donors
Selection Criteria for blood donation
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