- Whole blood is comprised of three main components: red cells, plasma and platelets.
- The shelf life of each component varies:White cells are the body’s primary defense against infection. Granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, roll along blood vessel walls in search of bacteria to destroy.
- Red Cells: 42 days
- Platelets: 5 days
- Plasma: 1 year
- There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O.
- Approximately 82 percent of the population is Rh positive, while 18 percent is Rh negative.
- Type O+ blood is the most common, and most frequently used, blood type.
- Type O- is the universal blood donor, because most people can accept this type of blood regardless of their blood type.
- Type AB+ is the universal recipient, because people with this blood type can normally accept all blood types.
Did You Know?
- Approximately 38 percent of the national population is eligible to donate, but annually less than 10 percent actually does.
- If all eligible blood donors donated blood at least twice a year, Central Blood Bank would be self-sufficient.
- Each year, 4.5 million Americans would die without blood transfusions.
- Every two seconds someone needs blood.
Those in Need
- Car accident victims who have suffered massive blood loss can require red blood cell transfusions of 50 pints or more.
- The average bone marrow transplant requires 120 units of platelets and approximately 20 units of red blood cells.
- Severe burn victims require approximately 20 units of plasma during their treatment.
- Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types.
- Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase their iron levels.
- Cancer, transplant and trauma patients and patients undergoing open-heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive.
- Some patients with complications from severe sickle cell disease, an inherited disease that affects more than 80,000 people in the United States (98 percent of whom are of African descent), receive blood transfusions every month – up to four units at a time.