Frequently Asked Questions
What is blood? How much blood does a person have?
Blood is the red coloured fluid flowing continuously in our body’s circulatory system. About 1/12th of the body weight of a healthy individual is blood. On an average there are about 5 – 6 litres of blood present.
What is the composition of blood?
Blood contains mainly a fluid called plasma in which are suspended cellular elements. Three types of cells: Red Blood Cells or RBC’s, White Blood Cells or WBC’s and tiny platelets form the cellular element.
What are the functions of these components?
(a) Plasma: acts as a vehicle to carry many substances like glucose, fats and proteins, enzymes and hormones, etc., in addition to the blood cells.
(b) Red Cells: carry oxygen from lungs to various body tissues and take back carbon dioxide from the cells and tissues to be thrown out of body in the form of exhaled air.
(c) White cells: mainly act as body scavengers and guards. They help in the immune system of the body and act as defense forces of the body, killing the bacteria or any other organisms entering the body.
(d) Platelets: help in the clotting and coagulation of blood. We have experienced in our life that whenever we get injured the bleeding stops after a few minutes. This is brought about by a mechanism called clotting of blood in which platelets plays a very vital role.
How is blood formed?
Blood consists of RBCs, WBCs, platelets suspended in plasma. In early embryonic life blood cells are formed in liver and spleen. But by the fifth month the Haemopoiesis (i.e., formation of blood) occurs in bone marrow and lymphatic tissues. At birth the entire bone marrow is red and active. Gradually as the child grows, the marrow remains red only in the flat bones and vertebrae. The RBC, granulocytes of WBC and platelets are produced mainly by bone marrow. The lymphocytes, monocytes, plasma cells are formed in the lymphoid and Reticuloendothelial tissues. The orderly proliferation of the cells in the bone marrow and their release into circulation is carefully regulated according to the needs of body. Every day, new blood cells are being produced in the bone marrow and every day old cells are dying and being removed from the body.
Red blood cells have a life of 120 days and when it becomes old and senile it is thrown out. White cells live for a few days and platelets for a few hours. Thus, daily new cells are added to the circulation and old are removed from it.
How is ‘Red Cells’ different from Whole Blood?
Both Whole Blood & Red Cells provide for increment in Hemoglobin by 1gm%. However, Red Cells do not give unwanted & extra volume, sodium, potassium & citrate. Also because entire plasma is removed from RC, there are fewer allergic reactions.
What is Hemoglobin?
Hemoglobin is a substance present in the red cells. It is helpful in carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide. On an average, in a healthy male it should be between 14-16 gm % and in a female it should be about 12-14 gm %. This is also being daily synthesized and the new is replacing the old stock.
What are blood groups?
Every individual has many blood group antigens but only two types of blood group antigens are of clinical relevance. The first belong to ABO group and the second Rh group.
In the ABO group there are four categories namely A Group, B Group, O Group and AB Group.
In the Rh Group either the individual is Rh-positive, or Rh-negative. Rh is a factor called as Rhesus factor.
Thus, each and every human being will fall in one of the following groups.
A positive or A negative
B positive or B negative
O positive or O negative
AB positive or AB negative
What is the importance of knowing the blood groups?
For all practical and routine purposes, it is ideal to transfuse to the patient the same group of blood which he belongs to. It is only under very dire emergencies that we take O group as universal donor and AB groups as universal recipient. Under no circumstances O group can get any other blood except O. Similarly A group patient cannot be given B group blood and vice versa.
Why are Rh negative and Rh positive incompatible?
A patient with Rh-negative blood cannot be given Rh-positive blood as the antigen-antibody reactions will result in severe consequences.
What is a unit of blood?
Blood is collected in plastic bags which contain a watery fluid which prevents blood from getting coagulated. On an average we draw about 350 ml of blood from a person. This blood, plus the amount of anti coagulant present in the bag, is known as one unit of blood.
How long can blood be stored?
RBC can be stored up to 42 days, when kept in anti coagulant solution and refrigerated at 2-4 deg C. But the demand is so great that blood hardly ever remains in storage for so long and is used much before expiry. The various blood components can be stored as under.
- Platelet Concentrate - 5 days
- Platelet Apheresis – 5 days
- Packed Cells – 42 days
- Fresh Frozen Plasma - 1 year
- Normal Human Plasma – 5 years
Can we separate blood into its components?
Yes! Now with technical advancements, we can make components of blood and store them. For example, plasma can be separated from whole blood and stored up to one year in frozen state at -80 deg C temperature or below. This is called Fresh Frozen Plasma. Similarly there are other components Platelet Concentrate (can be stored as a life saving measure up to 5 days now at 22-24 degrees C in a platelet incubator and agitator); Cryoprecipitate (which is very useful in treating bleeding disorders due to the deficiency of factor VIII and IX); Factor VIII and IX; Albumin, Globulin and many others.
How much time does it take to do cross-match?
It takes around 1.5 hours to do a routine cross-match around twenty minutes to do an emergency cross-match. for emergencies we do an abbreviated cross-match by rapid spin technique, which is quicker, but also less sensitive, It should be therefore used only for life-saving emergencies.
Do you take Blood Components back?
Sorry! We don’t.
Why do you take cancellation charges?
Cancellation charges are taken towards the compatibility procedures and logistics. For example the FFP, once thawed and not used, is no longer FFP.
What are the service charges for different components?
RBC - Rs.1200/unit
PC - Rs.1000/unit
FFP - Rs.700/unit
Apheresis PC - Rs.12000/unit
RBC/P - Rs. 800/unit
Exchange Transfusion - Rs. 2000/unit
In which situations do patients need blood transfusion?
There are many situations in which patients need blood to stay alive:
- A patient needs blood after a major accident in which there is loss of blood.
- No major surgery is performed without blood as there is bound to be blood loss.
- On an average, for every open heart surgery about 6 units of blood is required.
- In miscarriage or childbirth, cases the patient may need large amount of blood to be transfused for saving her life and also the child’s.
- For patients with blood diseases like severe Anaemias especially Aplastic Anaemias, Leukemia’s (blood cancer), Hemophilia (bleeding disorder), Thallassemia etc. repeated blood transfusions are the only solution.
- In many other situations like poisoning, drug reactions, shock, burns, blood transfusion is the only way to save precious human life.
Do you test all the collected blood?
Yes. ALL the blood in the blood bank is tested for following, using the latest technology:
- Hepatitis B & C
- Malarial parasite
- HIV I & II (AIDS)
- Venereal disease (Syphilis)
- Blood Group
- Before issuing blood, compatibility tests (cross matching) is done.
Please note that test results are highly confidential and not shared with anyone. In case of identification of any disease, the donor is notified in a confidential way so that he can see some concerned specialist for proper treatment & guidance.
What happens to patients in transfusions with incompatible blood (mismatched blood)?
The following symptoms may occur after only a few ‘ml’ of blood have been given:
1. Patient complains of shivering, restlessness, nausea and vomiting. There is precardial and lumbar pain.
2. Cold, clammy skin with cyanosis.
3. Pulse rate increases, respiratory rate increases. Temperature increases to 38 to 40 deg C. [101 to 105 F].
4. Blood pressure falls and patient passes into a state of shock.
5. Haemoglobinaemia, haemoglobinuria (urine turns red); oliguria (urine becomes scanty or the urinary output is reduced) and anuria (total output of urine becomes 200 ml. a day)
6. Jaundice appears after a few hours and in some cases anuria persists and uremia develops. This may lead to death.
In which situations do people generally donate blood?
There are five types of blood donors: -
(1) PROFESSIONAL DONORS – They sell their blood, which can be infectious and can transmit very dangerous diseases to the recipient. It is illegal to take blood from any professional donor.
(2) REPLACEMENT DONORS – Healthy relatives and friends of the patient give their blood, of any group, to the blood bank. In exchange, the required number of units in the required blood group is given.
(3) VOLUNTARY DONORS- Here a donor donates blood voluntarily. The blood can be used for any patient even without divulging the identity of the donor. This is the best type of blood donation where a motivated human being gives blood in an act of selfless service.
(4) DIRECTED DONORS-Donations of the same blood group are made for a specific patient by a friend or family member with a doctor's prescription.
(5) AUTOLOGOUS DONORS- These are the donations that individuals give for their own use with a doctor's prescription - for example, before a surgery.
Is it safe to donate blood and what happens during blood donation?
Donating blood is safe and simple. We use only totally sterile disposable blood bags and needles. The actual donation process works like this:
- You will complete a donor registration form that includes your name, address and a few other details.
- You will be asked a few questions about your health.
- You will go through a simple medical checkup including blood pressure, and pulse.
- A drop of blood will be obtained from your finger tip to test for Hemoglobin%.
- You will proceed to a donor bed/couch where your arm will be cleaned with antiseptic.
- During the donation process, you will donate 350ml.
- After the process is over, you will rest for about 5 minutes.
- Following your donation, you will be given refreshment, souvenir & Certificate of appreciation.
Who is a healthy donor?
Any person within the age group of 18-65 years with a body weight as minimum 45kgs and having hemoglobin content as minimum 12.5 gm%.
Does a donor need to do anything special before donation?
We want your donation experience to be pleasant. Please remember:
- Eat well-balanced food before you donate. You should not be on an empty stomach.
- Tell us the name and dosage of any medications you are taking. Medications will not keep you from donating, but the reason for taking them might.
How long does the donation take?
The procedure is done by skilled, specially trained doctors/nurses and takes three to eight minutes. However, from start to finish (filling form, post donation rest, etc) the entire process should take 30 to 40 minutes.
Does the needle hurt the entire time?
There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there should be no pain during the donation.
Does the donor suffer from any harmful effects after blood donation?
Absolutely not, rather a donor after having given blood voluntarily gets a feeling of great pleasure, peace and bliss. Soon, within a period of 24-48 hours, the same amount of new blood gets formed in the body, which helps the donor in many ways. His own body resistance improves, the circulation improves, and he himself feels healthier than before.
Does a donor need to rest after donating blood?
Yes. The donor needs rest, preferably lying down, so that the amount of blood that has been donated soon gets poured into the circulation from the body pools in a natural way. The donor should take it easy for about 10-15 minutes.
Can a donor work after donating blood?
Of course! Routine work is absolutely fine after the initial rest. Rigorous physical work should be avoided for a few hours.
What special diet should a donor follow after giving blood?
After resting for a while a donor is given some liquid (fluid) to take. It may be fruit juice along with a few biscuits or fruit. The donor needs no other special diet. A routine balanced diet is adequate. The donor’s blood gets replenished within 24-48 hours.
How long will it take for the body to replenish the blood?
The body replaces blood volume or plasma within 24 hours. Red cells need about four to six weeks for complete replacement. That’s why at least eight weeks are required between whole blood donations.
How frequently a donor can donate blood?
As per NACO guidelines a person can donate after every Three months.
Do any diseases debar a donor from giving blood?
There are many conditions in which we advise not to donate blood. These health conditions could mean that you may not be able to temporarily donate either for a period of 6 months, one year or may also mean that you may never donate blood. These conditions are essential for your safety and also for the safety of those receiving blood. Mentioned below are the deferral conditions.
Permanent Deferral (Life Long):
- Abnormal bleeding disorder.
- Heart, Kidney, Liver Disorders, Thyroid Disorder
- Epilepsy, mental disorders
- Tuberculosis, Leprosy
- Insulin dependent diabetics, Uncontrolled High BP.
Temporary Deferral (1 year):
- Dog bite/Rabies Vaccination
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Continuous low grade fever.
- During pregnancy
- After delivery
- Tattooing or body piercing (6 months)
- Dental extraction or root canal treatment (6 months)
- Intravenous drug abuse (6 months)
- Malaria (3 months)
- Vaccination (2 weeks)
For Female Donors:
- While lactating.
- During menstrual period (6 to 7 days)
Are there any other benefits of blood donation?
Yes, blood donation is a noble, selfless service! It gives the donor a feeling of joy and contentment. Also this is an expression of love for Mankind, as blood knows no caste, colour, creed, religion or race, country, continent or sex.