Despite miraculous advancements in medicine, there is no substitute for human blood. The need for blood products can occur in persons of all ages, from premature infants to the elderly. With an aging population, the demand for blood products is likely to increase, since management of illnesses that strike the elderly often requires extensive blood product support.
An important component of many medical and surgical treatments is the highly specialized blood products collected by Central Blood Bank. A stable blood supply is vital at all times to ensure excellence in the delivery of healthcare in our region.
Central Blood Bank is responsible for donor recruitment and blood collection, component manufacturing and testing and product management in our region.
Central Blood Bank must see 500 donors each day to ensure an adequate blood supply for area patients in need of transfusions in the hospitals we service.
Donor appointments are scheduled at the community donor centers by our Customer Contact Center Representatives.
A team of Business Development Representatives assist blood drive coordinators in the planning, organizing, and execution of more than 200 on-site mobile collection initiatives each month.
Our Rescheduling Program offers donors the opportunity to schedule their next lifesaving appointment at the time of their current donation. This allows donors to secure a convenient date and time for their donations.
Central Blood Bank has 25 community donor centers and fixed mobile sites conveniently located throughout western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia with day, evening and weekend appointments available.
All donor centers and fixed sites accept whole blood donations, autologous donations and directed donations. Some centers and fixed sites also offer automated and/or apheresis collection opportunities for red cell, platelet and plasma donations.
Central Blood Bank also offers the ability to donate blood through our mobile operations. Fourteen mobile teams are available daily, visiting businesses, schools, churches and community groups to provide access to donate close to your home or workplace. Whole blood and double red blood cell donations are available at our mobile blood drives. Certain high-profile mobile drives also offer machines for platelet and plasma collections.
Appointments for donor centers, fixed sites and mobile blood drives can be made online, by phone or at the time of your donation for future visits.
The donation process includes the registration of demographic information, a medical history interview to determine donor eligibility, a mini physical (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, hemoglobin (iron) levels are taken), the withdrawal of a unit of blood and a 15-minute post-donation rest period. The entire whole blood donation process is usually less than one hour. (Click here for additional details about the donation process.)
Manufacturing and Testing
Transfusion therapy requires the administration of specific cellular elements, manufactured from a unit of whole blood, for the treatment of blood disorders. Whole blood provides the “raw material” for the production of these cellular elements. One donation of whole blood can save up to three lives.
Whole blood donations are separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets. This product separation maximizes whole blood collections and optimizes the specific component needed for each hospital patient.
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin and serve to transport oxygen through the blood stream and to the tissues; they are used to treat patients with anemia, trauma victims, and surgical patients undergoing procedures with significant blood loss. Plasma is used as replacement therapy for coagulation factor deficiencies. Platelets are active in the treatment of patients who are bleeding because platelets help seal breaks in small blood vessels and activate the coagulation of blood.
Testing is performed for each type of donation, including but not limited to, blood type grouping, syphilis, various types of hepatitis, HIV and West Nile virus. As transfusion-transmissible viruses emerge, once test kits are available, Central Blood Bank implements these tests as required or recommended by the Food and Drug Administration or AABB, a key governing body, to maintain the safety of the blood supply.
All blood products are perishable. Red blood cells are stored at refrigeration temperature for a period of 35 – 42 days, dependent upon the anticoagulant into which they have been drawn. Plasma is stored in a frozen state for one year. Platelets are stored in a controlled, room-temperature environment and require constant agitation for their five-day shelf life.
Central Blood Bank monitors inventory levels of each blood component, ensuring that the hospitals we service maintain sufficient supplies to deliver quality patient care. The product management department provides customer service, including distribution of blood products and components, to the transfusion service departments of the hospitals and healthcare facilities we serve. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.