Blood FAQs

What is blood banking?

Blood banking is the process of collecting blood from donors and processing it in a laboratory to ensure that the donated blood or blood products are safe to use in blood transfusions or other medical procedures. Blood banking includes typing the blood for transfusion and testing for infectious diseases. Click on “Facts about Blood Banking” for information for blood donors and more from Palomar Health (San Diego, Calif.).

What’s the most common blood type?

Approximately 38% of the US population is O Rh-positive.

How much blood do trauma victims require?

Auto accident and gunshot victims can require up to 50 units of blood. Click on Blood Bank FAQs from the University Health System (San Antonio, Tex.) to learn more.

What is a cord-blood bank?

Cord blood banks store umbilical cord blood, the blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta after the cord is cut once the baby is born. Frequently discarded along with the umbilical cord and placenta, cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells, unspecialized cells that produce all blood cells, including:

  • platelets (needed for blood clotting)
  • red blood cells (transport oxygen to the cells); and
  • white blood cells (help fight disease).

Stem cells can be used to treat various genetic disorders that affect the blood and immune system, leukemia and certain cancers, and some inherited disorders of body chemistry. Click on Cord Blood FAQs from Duke University School of Medicine’s Carolinas Cord Blood Bank to learn more.

What are the AABB’s new five blood transfusion ‘don’ts’?

An AABB work group led by AABB Director Jeannie Callum, MD, has issued these five transfusion warnings for physicians and patients. Click on “AABB/Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” for complete guidelines.

  • Don’t transfuse more units of blood than absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t transfuse red blood cells for iron deficiency without hemodynamic instability.
  • Don’t routinely use blood products to reverse warfarin.
  • Don’t perform serial blood counts on clinically stable patients.
  • Don’t transfuse O negative blood except to O negative patients and in emergencies for women of child bearing potential with unknown blood group.

Learn more about blood and blood banking: click on “Circular of Information for the use of human blood and blood components” prepared by AABB, the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and the Armed Services Blood Program.

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