The Red Cross national blood supply has fallen by about 25% since early August. Right now, blood product distributions to hospitals are outpacing the number of blood donations coming in. We need your help - schedule a blood donation today.
Test results are transferred electronically to the processing center within 24 hours.
If a test result is positive, your donation will be discarded and you will be notified (our test results are confidential and are only shared with the donor, except as may be required by law).
When test results are received, units suitable for transfusion are labeled and stored.
Red cells are stored in refrigerators at 6ºC for up to 42 days.
Platelets are stored at room temperature in agitators for up to five days.
Plasma and cryo are frozen and stored in freezers for up to one year.
Blood is available to be shipped to hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hospitals typically keep some blood units on their shelves, but may call for more at any time, such as in case of large scale emergencies.
An ill or injured patient arrives at a hospital or treatment center.
Physicians determine whether the patient requires a transfusion and, if so, which type.
Blood transfusions are given to patients in a wide range of circumstances, including serious injuries (such as in a car crash) surgeries, child birth, anemia, blood disorders, cancer treatments, and many others. See How Blood Donations Help.
A patient suffering from an iron deficiency or anemia may receive red blood cells to increase their hemoglobin and iron levels, improving the amount of oxygen in the body.
Patients who are unable to make enough platelets, due to illness or chemotherapy, may receive platelet transfusions to stay healthy.
Plasma transfusions are used for patients with liver failure, severe infections, and serious burns.