Blood FactsWhole blood is separated into its component parts for patients needing a particular product. The main blood collection bag has up to three satellite bags attached to it. In a centrifuge process, the red cells, platelets, and plasma are spun, separated and readied for transfusion.

  • Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and carry oxygen to the body and remove carbon dioxide. They are needed for accident victims, certain surgeries, and patients with anemia and blood disorders.
  • Platelets are tiny cells, formed in the bone marrow, that control bleeding by helping the blood to clot. The body replaces platelets within 72 hours of donation. Leukemia and cancer patients need platelets because chemotherapy destroys their own supply of platelets.
  • Plasma is the liquid part of the blood and makes up 55% of blood volume. It is comprised of 92% water, 7% protein, and 1% minerals, and is essential in the clotting/coagulation process. Plasma is used for patients experiencing heavy bleeding and for burn victims.
  • Cryoprecipitate is extracted from plasma in a freezing and thawing process. This component contains a specific clotting agent, Factor VIII, missing in hemophiliacs and essential for controlling bleeding.

Did you know?

  • Every 33 minutes, someone in Lane County needs a blood transfusion.
  • Every TEN seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion.
  • One out of every TEN people entering a hospital will need blood.
  • Approximately 35,000 units of blood are used EACH day in the United States.
  • THIRTY-EIGHT PERCENT of the US population is eligible to donate–less than TEN PERCENT does on an annual or more frequent basis.
  • Blood used to treat victims of a disaster is blood that was already on the blood bank shelves.
  • Most people have about 10 pints of blood. A newborn baby has about one cup of blood.
  • There is NO substitute for human blood.

Major Reasons Patients Need Blood

  • Cancer
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Disease of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Emergencies such as car accidents


Medical procedure
or trauma patient

will use up to:

Burn 20 units of blood
Automobile Accident 50 units of blood
Heart Surgery 6 units of blood
6 units of platelets
Bone Marrow Transplant 20 units of blood
120 units of platelets
Organ Transplant 40 units of blood
30 units of platelets
20 bags of cryoprecipitate
25 units of fresh frozen plasma