Blood is composed of the following living cells which support and maintain our body tissues:
The amount varies according to height and weight, but about seven percent of a person's bodyweight is composed of blood.
Blood is usually transfused to replace red blood cells that carry oxygen. Various situations necessitate transfusion:
Not necessarily. If you refer to the Blood Types Reference Chart, you will see which blood types are compatible for transfusion.
There are three sources of blood for transfusion:
Autologous donation means to receive your own blood. This is normally the safest blood to receive. People of almost any age can donate for themselves, especially prior to surgery or a medical procedure. You may be able to donate for yourself, even if you are ineligible for allogeneic donation. Ask your physician if you are able to self-donate. Designated donation means to receive others' blood, such as family or friends. Allogenic blood donation is available from the general blood supply and may be ordered for your needs by your physician. Various factors, such as donation constraints due to your medical condition, urgency, or lack of donors, may necessitate the use of this blood source.
All donors are screened and donor blood tested, but there are still risks with any transfusion. The following are odds of infection from studies published in 1996:
Other possible adverse reactions to a blood product include:
As a precaution, women who may become pregnant should not receive a designated donation from their husband or partner, as it may be harmful to future children. Severe allergic reaction to a blood product — 1 in 100,000 transfusions. Most allergic reactions are mild and cause a slight fever or rash.
All potential donors must undergo a screening process before donating. Medical history, medications, travel history and blood count are reviewed in donor selection. Donated blood is typed and tested for evidence of infection before released for use. A "crossmatch," or final check, is performed with the recipients' blood prior to transfusion. We advise all potential donors to answer screening and health questions carefully, to ensure the safety of the blood.
All blood transfused must meet the donor eligibility requirements established by the State of California, the Food and Drug Administration, and the American Association of Blood Banks. All donated units of blood are tested for evidence of viral or bacterial infections transmitted by blood:
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.