Why is blood separated?

Patients need different types of blood components depending on their illness or injury.

Red blood cells are made in the marrow of bones, especially the vertebrae, ribs, hips, skull and sternum. These essential cells fight infection, carry oxygen and help control bleeding.

Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding. When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets collect at the site of the injury and temporarily repair the tear. Platelets then activate substances in plasma, which form a clot and allow the wound to heal.

Patients with cancer, blood disorders or severe injuries require platelet transfusions to survive. Because platelets can be stored for only five days, the need for donations is continuous.

Plasma is the fluid component of the blood that carries other blood cells, nutrients and clotting factors throughout our bodies. By giving plasma, you will be providing life-giving transfusions to patients suffering from burns, traumas and bleeding disorders.

Six to eight whole blood donations must be separated and pooled to provide a single platelet transfusion. However, one automated donation provides enough platelets or plasma for one complete transfusion, providing a much safer product for our patients.

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