Each blood component has a specific function. Blood is usually separated into its different components to treat various conditions in patients.
- Whole blood (which includes all the blood components) may be used to increase both red cell mass and plasma volume.
- Red cells carry oxygen to the body's organs and tissue. Red cells may be used to increase red cell mass as well as to prevent febrile reactions due to white blood cell antibodies.
- Platelets clot blood to help prevent bleeding and are used for patients with bleeding disorders.
- Plasma is the liquid that transports platelets and red cells through the blood stream. Plasma is used to treat some coagulation disorders.
A blood donor gives one pint of whole blood which is then filtered into red cells and plasma. A single blood donation has the potential to save up to two lives!