What happens to your whole blood donations?

Average donors have approximately 10 pints of blood in their body. Only 1 pint is drawn during the donation process.

Whole Blood is used to replace massive blood loss due to surgery or injury.

Plasma comprises approximately half of each pint of whole blood. It is the liquid which literally floats the cells throughout your body and contains nutrients and proteins. It is used mainly for burn patients, and is replaced by the body within a few hours after donation.

Cryoprecipitate is a small portion of the plasma harvested through a freeze-thaw process. It contains factors to help the blood clot and is used in open heart surgeries and patients with hereditary clotting deficiencies.

Platelets help the blood clot and go to patients undergoing heart surgery, as well as those with cancer, leukemia or bleeding problems. There is less than one ounce of platelets in a pint of whole blood. They are replaced in a few days, and have a life span of approximately 5 days.

Red Cells make up the other half of whole blood, and are given to patients with severe anemia. We have nearly 150 billion red cells in an ounce of whole blood which carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. They are replaced by the body in approximately 4-6 weeks.

Blood product use flowchart

Contact Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank at: