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- About blood
- Australia has one of the safest blood supply systems in the world.
- You can donate whole blood every 12 weeks.
- O negative blood is universal and can be given to anyone.
- Plasma and platelet donations can be made every 2 weeks.
- Every whole blood donation can save 3 lives.
- 1 in 3 people will need blood. Only 1 in 30 gives blood.
- Australia needs over 27,000 blood donations every week.
- 470mL of blood is collected when you give whole blood.
- Within 24-48 hours of giving blood, your blood volume is completely restored.
- Giving blood only takes about an hour.
- Plasma donations can be used to make 17 different products.
- Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days.
- 34% of donated blood goes towards helping cancer patients.
- You can start giving blood at 16.
- The blood service has been collecting blood for over 80 years.
- You can donate double platelets – helping twice as many people.
- Platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days.
Plasma is a very diverse blood component which can be used for a wide range of purposes.
Some of the plasma collected is processed by the Blood Service to make:
- Clinical Fresh Frozen Plasma - used to treat patients who have clotting problems often after trauma or liver transplantations.
- Cryoprecipitate - prepared from fresh frozen plasma and contains blood clotting substances called Fibrinogen and Factor VIII. Cryoprecipitate can be used for patients with particular deficiencies of these proteins. Cryoprecipitate is also used for liver transplants
The majority of donated plasma is processed by the Australian plasma fractionator, CSL Bioplasma Ltd, to make a variety of products that the Blood Service distributes to hospitals, including:
- Intragam - used to boost the immune system and in the treatment of some muscle and nerve conditions.
- Normal Immunoglobulins - extracts from plasma that carry antibodies against common infectious diseases such as measles, rubella and hepatitis A.
- Hyper Immunoglobulins - prepared from a pool of donations from donors who have strong antibodies against diseases such as tetanus, chicken pox, Hepatitis B and cytomegalovirus.
- Anti-D - prevents Rhesus disease in the newborn. Rhesus disease is an incompatibility of the mothers and baby's blood resulting in the mother developing antibodies against her baby's blood, which can result in the baby's red cells being destroyed. This disease has almost been eradicated thanks to the availability of anti-D produced from selected blood donors. Find out more about anti-D.
- Albumex 20 - a concentrated solution of the main blood protein, albumin, present in human plasma, Albumex 20 is used in the correction of protein deficiency sometimes associated with kidney and liver diseases.
- Albumex 4 - a more dilute solution of albumin, Albumex 4 is used in the treatment of shock due to blood loss. It is also used in the treatment of shock after a person suffers severe burns.
- Biostate (Factor VIII Concentrate) - a blood clotting factor used in the treatment of people with bleeding disorders such as Haemophilia A or von Willebrand disease.
- Prothrombinex HT - prothrombinex is rich in coagulation factors II, IX and X and is used in the management of bleeding conditions such as Haemophilia B or Christmas disease.