Whole blood donation is the most common type of donation wherein the blood is separated into transfusable blood components – red cells, plasma, platelets and/or cryoprecipitated AHF.
During plasma donation, on the other hand, the blood is collected by a machine, which separates the plasma, red cells and platelets and returns the red cells and/or platelets back to the donor.
Eligibility for plasma donation is almost the same as for whole blood donation.
Karl Landsteiner’s blood grouping system
We all have one of the four common blood types: A, B, AB, and O, as categorized under the Karl Landsteiner’s blood grouping system. It’s interesting to note that while human blood has common components, like RBCs, WBCs, Plasma, and Platelets, yet there are certain characteristics that make a particular blood type unique.
Let’s first understand what a blood-type essentially means and the basis on which these blood-types have been categorized:
- Blood Type A- has antigen A and can receive only from persons with blood type A
- Blood Type B- has antigen B and can receive only from persons with blood type B
- Blood Type AB- has antigens A and B and can receive from persons with any blood type (universal recipient).
- Blood Type O- has neither antigen A nor B and can be donated to persons with all blood types. However, persons with O can receive blood only from those with the same blood type (universal donor).
Blood transfusion is usually performed to cure patients suffering from anemia due to blood loss. This blood loss could be due to gastrointestinal bleeding, vaginal discharges, intracranial hemorrhages or injuries.
What if mismatch happens
In blood transfusion, the knowledge of blood-type compatibility becomes imperative. Complications arise when a person with blood type A receives blood from someone with blood type B, or vice versa. This could result in ABO incompatibility, which initiates potentially fatal reactions from the immune system.
The blood received by a diseased patient has to form part of the circulatory channels and move to different organs for different purposes. If this blood forms clots because of incompatibilities, it becomes a threat to the system. It can cause blockages in the peripheral arteries or form emboli in the brain. Therefore, blood groups must be matched before transfusion.
However, in organ transplantation, it all comes down to matching with the immune system of the host. In order to ensure the smooth functioning of the transplanted organ, its cells must absorb the nutrients flowing in the circulating channels outside it. The organ must be able to receive the hormones sent to it so that appropriate response is generated from that organ.
The organ must be from a person with the highest amount of similarity in genetic makeup, so that it doesn’t induce unwanted immune responses from the host’s B cells and the organ’s functionality is not impaired with time.
Whole blood donation is the most common type of donation wherein the blood is separated into transfusable components – red cells, plasma, platelets and/or cryoprecipitated AHF.
During plasma donation, on the other hand, the blood is collected by a machine, which separates the plasma, red cells and platelets and returns the red cells and/or platelets back to the donor. Eligibility for plasma donation is almost the same as for whole blood donation.
Key Dos and Don’ts of Blood Donation (Blood Donation Requirements)
- While donating blood, a person must have normal blood pressure ~ 120/80 mm Hg, a person with lower readings is not suitable for this exercise since there are chances that he would become hypotensive himself. Also, blood volumes from such a donor may not have the capacity to fight infections in the environment which it moves into.
- It is important that a donor must be healthy i.e have hemoglobin concentrations of 13-14% and heart rate is 65-75 bpm, so that when a recipient has this blood, he would have the capacity to initiate immune responses against pathogens. Post-transplantation, a person has a long recovery period during which susceptibilities towards infections and allergens increase. Good biocompatibility of the transplant can equip the body to fight these risks effectively.
- If you’re planning to donate blood, it’s advisable to avoid fatty foods such as french fries, smoked meat, and cheesy burgers.
- Consume at least 1-2 liters of water above your daily consumption volume before going for blood donation.
- Platelet donors are advised to halt your aspirin use from two days before donating blood.
How often can you donate blood?
Whole blood donation can be done upto 6 times an year.
Guidelines for Chronic Patients
The International Red Cross Society* has documented the eligibility for blood donation. If you’re a patient with a chronic illness, chances are that you may not be eligible.
- Diabetics with good control with antidiabetic medications can go for blood donation only after consulting with their doctor.
- Patients with heart diseases are generally advised not to go for blood donations without proper control.
- Patients with respiratory illnesses are advised not to donate blood, especially asthmatic patients and patients with acute respiratory problems.
- It is important to remember that a person afflicted with even a minor infection or cough, cold etc. should not donate blood as most infections are communicable via blood.
It is always advised to donate blood while you can because it gives the body a fresh impetus to form new blood again. This refurbishing of blood supplies enables higher rates of metabolism and increases respiratory rates, thus forming a cyclic mechanism for keeping the body fit.
- ABO Incompatibility : www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001306.htm
- Major ABO blood group mismatch increases the risk for graft failure after unrelated donor hematopoietic stem cell : transplantation.www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17531777
- Eligibility for blood donation : www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements
The Arterial Highway
If you think your arteries are just round tubes transferring blood, then let’s rethink a little. The structure of our artery is that of a muscular tube lined by smooth tissue and has three layers named – the Adventitia, Media and Intima, Read More..