healtheo360 Wellness Blog

Different Ways to Donate Blood and Save Lives

Posted on Feb 16, 2017 2:14:08 PM by healtheo360

Different Ways to Donate Blood and Save Lives: Did you know that when you choose to roll up your sleeve at a blood drive or donation center, there are different types of donation you can give?  The best type of donation for each individual depends on their blood type, physical characteristics, personal preferences, and convenience.

You can ensure the best use of your contribution by figuring out the "right type" of donation for you.  A "whole blood" donation is the most common form, but there are a few other ways to give and make a difference.  Donation types include:

  • Blood (or Whole Blood)

  • Double Red Cells

  • Platelets

  • Plasma

Here at healtheo360, we are passionate about the life-saving importance of blood/organ/tissue donation, so we created this infographic to help you decide which form of giving is right for you. 

different ways to donate blood

Different Ways to Donate Blood and Save Lives - Donation Type #1: Whole Blood

This is what most people think of when they hear "blood donation."  A pint of whole blood is drawn into a plastic bag, and is processed in the blood center laboratory where it is separated into its components (red blood cells, plasma, and platelets).  After processing, the red blood cells can be stored for up to 42 days.


Different Ways to Donate Blood and Save Lives - Donation Type #2: Platelet Apheresis

Platelets are very small colorless cell fragments whose main function is to stop bleeding.  They are a vital element of cancer and organ transplant treatments, as well as many surgical procedures as they help prevent massive blood loss.  During this type of donation, an apheresis machine collects the platelets and some plasma and returns the red cells and most of the plasma to the donor.  A single donation of platelets can constitute one or several transfusable units.  It takes about 4-6 whole blood donations to constitute a single transfusable unit of platelets.  The entire process takes about one and-a-half to two and-a-half hours.


Different Ways to Donate Blood and Save Lives - Donation Type #3: Plasma Apheresis

Plasma helps transport nutrients and proteins in blood throughout the body via the circulatory system, and is most often needed to treat accident and burn victims.  During this donation, plasma is collected by the apheresis machine and red cells and/or platelets are returned to the donor.  Individuals with Type AB blood are universal plasma donors, making them especially valuable.  If you have Type AB blood, this is likely the "right type" of donation for you.  It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to donate plasma, and it can be done every 28 days.


Different Ways to Donate Blood and Save Lives - Donation Type #4: Double Red Cells

Oxygen-rich red blood cells are most often used for surgery or trauma patients.  Red cells are the most transfused blood component, and certain blood types are often in short supply.  During this donation, red blood cells are collected by the apheresis machine and most of the platelets/plasma are returned to the donor.  Type O donors are especially valuable as double red cell donors.  Donors need to meet slightly higher hemoglobin and height/weight requirements in order to participate in this type of donation.  Double red cell donations take approximately 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation, and can be performed every 112 days.






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