A Brief Introduction to the Types of Blood Donation

Blood transfusion is a process of supplying blood of a matching group to an individual in need of it. Even though advanced procedures such as laparoscopic surgery rarely needs a blood transfusion, it is needed for medical emergencies, life support systems, several specific diseases, such as thalassemia, or even a major pre-scheduled invasive surgery.

Whether or not you have been a part of blood transfusions, you are more likely to be accustomed to only one type of blood donation. However, did you know that there are 4 types of blood donations, as per the element of the blood? Let’s have a quick look at each of them

1. Whole blood donation

The most common procedure, in which about a pint of whole blood is extracted out of the body. It may or may not be further segregated into platelets, plasma, and red cells, depending upon the need of the recipient. The procedure takes about half an hour or even less, while the patients can donate the same every 2 months.

2. Platelet Apheresis

It requires a special apheresis machine that collects blood and separates all its elements with centrifugal effect. The platelets component is kept for transfusion while the remaining elements return back to the body’s blood circulation. The process takes about 2 hours.

This type of blood is needed by patients battling cancers, undergoing organ transplant therapy and surgeries/medical emergencies that may involve massive bleeding. Moreover, while a single platelet donation can be used for multiple blood transfusion, it takes about 5-6 whole blood donations to make up for a single platelet transfusion. It can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year.

3. Plasma Apheresis

This type of blood donation goes simultaneously with the previous one. In this type, only the plasma is kept for the blood transfusion, while the rest is returned back to the body. The process takes about an hour and a half. It can be done after every two weeks.

4. Power Red

This one is yet another donation type involving the apheresis machine, which collects only the red cells while it returns the plasma and the platelets. Often the rare blood types have short supply as the donor need to meet few special guidelines for donating this type. It includes having higher levels of haemoglobin and specific body height and weight.

A single donation usually takes about an hour and collects two units of red cells. The donor can contribute every 120 days.

Each blood donation types has its own features. On this World Blood Donor Day, 14th June we honour every blood donor and feel our duty to pay tribute to one particular donor named James Harrison of Australia. This blood plasma donor rightfully earned the title of ‘man with the golden arm’ as he has donated blood plasma 1173 times throughout his entire life. After receiving 13 liters of blood for a surgery at the age of 14, he committed to donate blood in the future. Having a rather strong antigen against the group Rh antigen, he was able to donate blood plasma, which as per estimation, saved about 2.4 million unborn babies.

Blood Donation

While saluting such a determined spirit, we, on behalf of ILS Hospitals, urge every healthy, capable individual to donate blood, at least once in their lifetime.