Donating blood is more than just sticking a needle into a vein and extracting blood. There are different donating methods, based on who is receiving the blood and the specific blood component extracted. Scroll below to learn about the various blood donation types.
Blood donation should not be thought of as a duty or procedure, but rather a beneficial way of helping others and yourself. There are many benefits involved in donating blood, not to mention the immense good it will do to someone in need. One donation of blood can be the difference between life and death for someone. Not everyone can give blood, there are certain requirements and specifications involved, as well as screening and testing of the blood needs to be carried out, to ensure its safety. In this article, learn what are the different types of blood donations that are used today.
Blood Donations Based on Recipients of Blood
This method involves donating blood at a blood bank or during a blood donation drive. Blood is collected in mass and the donor is completely unaware of the recipients of his/her blood.
This method of donation involves the donor mentioning the recipient specifically. The blood is meant for a specific or unique individual only. This practice is followed by family members or friends of a patient, who wish to donate their blood to help in the patient’s recovery or surgery. Often the blood is drawn out and specified according to a doctor’s prescription. It is first tested to see if it matches the requirements of the patient and then transfused. In some cases, if the blood is not needed or used, then someone else can use the blood.
Here, the donor donates blood and it is stored and then transfused back to the donor himself, this process is known an autologous blood donation mechanism. Such transfusions can be carried out only with a doctor’s prescription and consent and is allowed in certain situations. For example, if a patient is undergoing an operation and will require blood perhaps after or during the operation. This is the safest blood donation of all blood donation types, as the donor and the recipient are one and the same, so there is practically zero risk of infected or diseased blood.
Blood Donations Based on Blood Components
The most common performed blood donation and most blood donated and used, are obtained from this method. Here blood, complete and pure is extracted and is made up of 3 components – plasma, platelets and red cells. Though extracted blood quantity differs from person to person, approximately a pint or 450-500 milliliters is taken. This method is quick and easy, the actual procedure takes 8-10 minutes. Such blood transfusions can be performed every 56 days. O negative blood type is preferred for such donations, as they are universal donors and their blood is accepted by all other blood types.
Specialized blood collecting, where only certain components of blood are collected and the others returned is carried out through an apheresis machine. This machine takes blood from one arm, filters it, collects the necessary component and returns the filtered blood back to the body through the other arm. Sometimes a single needle is used for one arm, so the machine will work in phases – extract, filter and collect for sometime and then stop and start restoring the filtered blood. This mechanism of blood collecting is found only in certain blood donation centers and has different restrictions, as compared to whole blood donation. Based on the blood constituent, there are 3 types of blood donations based on the principle of apheresis.
Here, blood platelets are collected and the remaining filtered blood is returned to the donor. This procedure takes at least 1-2 and a half hours and only blood types A and O are accepted. Plasma donations are especially required for cancer and those undergoing an organ transplant. It is also necessary in accident or trauma cases, where there is a high level of blood loss and the blood needs to clot quickly.
Here, the component, which is filtered out and collected is blood plasma. Only the plasma is taken out, the remaining blood is returned to the donor. This blood transfusion takes an estimated 1 hour and 15 minutes to perform and only A, B and AB blood types are allowed to donate for plasma donation.
III. Double Red Cell Donation
This is a “filter and return” mechanism, where only the red blood cells are extracted but the plasma and platelets are immediately returned to the donor, so more red blood cells are collected in one shot. An apheresis machine is used. This transfusion takes at least 30-35 minutes and there are some additional screening factors for an individual to give such blood, such as higher hemoglobin count and larger body weight or mass. Since red blood cells are the components of blood that require more time to be replenished naturally, such factors are necessary to prevent harming the donor.
Those were the various types of blood donations used around the world. Depending on the type, blood can be scarce and often a certain type or component is needed more than others. Every little step is a step towards saving someone’s life, whether a known or unknown person. So the next time, there is a blood drive or session in your neighborhood, do your bit and donate some blood. Remember what goes around comes around, so tomorrow, someone’s donated blood will save your life.