• 12Apr

    How often can you donate blood?

    Human blood consists of red cells, white cells, platelets, proteins and clotting factors suspended in a medium of water. Blood formation takes place in various parts of our body. In an adult the cells are produced in the bone marrow whereas the proteins including clotting factors are synthesized in the liver. When a person donates blood, these components are replaced by the body over a period of time. Hence every donor is required to take a break before the next donation.


    Blood donation principles

    As per the American Red Cross guidelines and other protocols, the frequency of blood donation depends on whether a person is donating whole blood or a particular component. These guidelines are as follows:

    Whole blood: This can be donated after every 56 days or 08 weeks. This is stored at 2oC to 6oC and is used for volume replacement in patients with blood loss during surgery or injury. It also increases the oxygen carrying capacity of blood in patients with severe anemia.

    The frequency of possible blood donation depends on whether a person is donating whole blood or a particular component.

    The frequency of possible blood donation depends on whether a person is donating whole blood or a particular component.

    Platelets: Platelets can be donated every 7 days and up to 24 times in a year. These cells are the sticky cells of blood which form platelet plug to stop bleeding in case of injury. Platelets are selectively taken using a machine which separates these cells from rest of the blood. This procedure may take up to two hours. Normal daily activities can be resumed after this donation while taking care to avoid any strenuous activity. The donor is also instructed not to take aspirin 48 hours before donation as aspirin inhibits platelet function.

    Plasma: Every 28 days and up to 13 times in a year, a healthy person can donate plasma. Plasma is separated from the donated blood or is collected through the machine. Plasma can also be collected along with platelet separation. Plasma collection requires about an hour. It is stored in frozen form and is called ‘Fresh frozen plasma’. Plasma is a rich source of clotting factors and is thawed to body temperature before transfusion. Plasma transfusion is used in burns, trauma and patients with liver disorders requiring surgery.

    Double Red Cells: These can be donated every 112 days or up to 3 times every year. We know that the whole blood contains various components but the red cells are most commonly required. They increase the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. So, double red cell donation allows one to donate two units of red cells. This is done through a machine which selectively separates red cells while returning the platelets and plasma back to the circulation. It is as safe as whole blood donation though this procedure takes longer time.

    Autologous blood donation: This is self-donation of blood and is useful in rare blood groups. The patient donates blood which is stored and is transfused to the same donor during a major surgery. The use of autologous transfusion is growing. As much as five units can be donated for subsequent use. The hemoglobin level of the donor should be more than 11 g/dL and the red cell concentration or the hematocrit should be more than 34% in blood. The first donation is performed on day 40 before planned surgery and the last donation is permitted three days before surgery. These donations can be scheduled at intervals of 3 to 4 days. Administration of recombinant human erythropoietin hormone stimulates production of red blood cells in the bone marrow and allows for more frequent donation of blood.

    Blood and blood products are used as lifesaving modalities in various emergency and non-emergency situations. Blood donors have a great role to play as blood is always a limited resource. While aiming to save lives of patients, there should also be a concern for the blood donors. Their safety and well-being can be ensured by following the above mentioned guidelines.

    Anna L.

    It’s all about health!
    I have academic background in drugs related Chemical Technology, as well as extensive professional experience in pharma and medical companies. My main area of interest is everyday life medicine. The goal of my articles is to give people informative answers to the questions that bother them, to dispel doubts and some common misbeliefs and also to inspire everyone to keep healthy lifestyle.

    More Posts

Discussion One Response

  1. August 28, 2014 at 1:28 am

    How do you get a new donation card?

Share your thoughts about the article