En Español

Blood Donation Facts

Facts About Miller-Keystone Blood Center

  • Where you give blood does make a difference. MKBC is the only blood supplier to 22 hospitals in our region. No other blood organization supplies these hospitals, and only blood donated through MKBC is transfused at these facilities.
  • MKBC is affiliated with America’s Blood Centers, a national network of independent, not-for-profit community blood centers that collects approximately 60% of blood products donated in the United States.
  • America’s independent community blood centers (America’s Blood Centers) collect, test, process and deliver about half (60%) of the U.S. blood supply to hospitals nationwide.
  • Approximately 450 units of blood are needed every day in the 12 counties served by Miller-Keystone Blood Center.

Facts About the Blood Supply

  • Approximately 43,000 units of blood are used each day in the United States.
  • Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States requires a blood transfusion.
  • The gift of blood is the gift of life. There is no substitute for human blood.
  • 4.8 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions.
  • Statistics show that 25% or more of us will require blood at least once in our lifetime.
  • One out of every 7 people entering a hospital needs blood.
  • Approximately 3 gallons of blood supports the entire nation’s blood needs for one minute.

Facts About Blood Donation

  • According to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates all US blood banks, blood or plasma from people who have been paid to donate cannot be used for transfusion to humans in the US.
  • 17% of people who don’t give blood cite “never thought about it” as the main reason for not donating, while 15% say they’re “too busy.”
  • 40% of the US population is eligible to donate – only 5% do on a yearly basis. People older than 65 use 43 percent of all donated blood. The demand for blood will increase as the population ages.
  • If you began donating blood at age 16 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated more than 48 gallons of blood.
  • Blood centers often run short of type O and B blood, and shortages of all types of blood occur during the summer and winter holidays. If all blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.
  • Anyone who is in good health, is 16 years of age or older, and weighs 110 pounds or more, may donate whole blood every 56 days. Plasma can be donated every four weeks, and platelets up to 24 times per year.
  • Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as platelets.
  • In the days following the September 11 attacks, a half a million people donated blood.

Facts About Blood Types

  • There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O.
  • The rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf at the moment a patient needs it.
  • Those belonging to the O- blood group are called universal blood donors. The red blood cells of a universal blood donor may be transfused to anyone regardless of their blood type.
  • Those belonging to the AB blood group (positive or negative) are called universal plasma donors. The plasma of those belonging to the AB blood group may be transfused to anyone regardless of blood type.
  • 1 person in 3 in the United States is O+
  • 1 person in 15 in the United States is O-
  • 1 person in 3 in the United States is A+
  • 1 person in 16 in the United States is A-
  • 1 person in 12 in the United States is B+
  • 1 person in 67 in the United States is B-
  • 1 person in 29 in the United States is AB+
  • 1 person in 167 in the United States is AB-

Facts About Blood 

  • Red blood cells can be stored for up to 42 days, while platelets can only be stored for up to five (5) days.
  • A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in his or her body.
  • One unit of blood can be separated into several components, including red blood cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate.
  • Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissue.
  • Platelets are small blood cells that initiate blood clotting, controlling bleeding.
  • Plasma is a pale yellow mixture of water, salts and proteins, including solvable clotting factors; plasma is 90 percent water and constitutes 55 percent of blood volume.
  • Cryoprecipitate is a frozen blood product prepared from plasma.
  • Platelets must be used within five days of collection, hence blood donations are especially needed around 3-day weekends. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days. Plasma can be frozen and used for up to a year.
  • Blood fights against infection and helps heal wounds, keeping you healthy.

Facts About Blood Transfusions

  • Females receive 53% of blood transfused; males receive 47%.
  • Blood is safer today than it has ever been before. Blood centers follow five layers of safety procedures blood donor eligibility standards, individual screening, laboratory testing, confidential exclusion of donations, and donor record checks. Blood centers also work closely with government agencies and other entities to enhance blood donor screening practices, increase disease testing, improve computer tracking systems, and ensure good manufacturing practices. You cannot get AIDS or any other blood disease by donating blood. Approximately 12 tests are performed on every unit of donated blood, many of which are for infectious diseases, including hepatitis (a liver infection); HIV (the virus that causes AIDS); HTLV-I (a virus associated with a rare form of leukemia) and HTLV-II; syphilis and WNV (West Nile Virus).
  • Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase their iron levels.
  • Cancer, transplant and trauma patients and patients undergoing open-heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive.
  • Children being treated for cancer, premature infants, and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types.
  • Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that affects more than 80,000 people in the United States, 98 percent of whom are of African descent. Some patients with complications from severe sickle cell disease receive blood transfusions every month.
  • Examples of Blood Use
    • Premature Infant  »   1 – 4 units of red cells
    • Automobile Accident  »   5  -100 units of red cells
    • Burn Victims  »   20 units of platelets
    • Cancer Patient   »  3 – 10 units of red cells / 10 – 30 units of platelets
    • Sickle Cell Patient  »   10 – 20 units of red cells
    • Heart Surgery  »  3 – 8 units of red cells / 1 – 10 units of platelets / 2 – 5 units of plasma
    • Organ Transplant  »  10 – 30 units of red cells / 10 – 30 units of platelets / 10 – 20 units of plasma / 20 bags of cryoprecipitate
    • Bone Marrow Transplant  »  15 – 20 units of red cells / 100 – 120 units of platelets