When your donation is received, it is separated into individual components with a machine called a centrifuge. The different components are red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. Each and every one of them can be put to a different use.
Red blood cells
her main function is to distribute the oxygen to our body tissues and to carry the carbon dioxide back to our lungs.
Red blood cell transfusions are used in cases where the patient has lost a lot of blood, like in trauma or surgery or childbirth but also in cases of severe anemia when the bone marrow does not produce enough of them like in chemotherapy, leukemia and thalassemia.
The red cells are filtered to be separated form the white blood cells, and they have a life of 35 days from the day the donation was made.
White blood cells
The function of white blood cells is to fight infection; they are part of our body’s defense system. White cell transfusions are needed for patients suffering from life threatening infections and whose natural defense mechanisms don’t respond well to antibiotics.
Platelets (also known as thrombocytes) are formed in the bone marrow. These fragments of cells help the blood to clot. When the platelet level is low, you tend to suffer a lot from bruising and bleeding.
We tend to think that red is the color of blood, but as a matter of fact it is only the color of the red blood cells that make it appear that way. When removing all the cellular components of the blood, we are left with plasma: a yellow fluid that carries all the blood cells.
Generated by the white blood cells, these protective antibodies form when the patient is recovering from an infection or after having received some immunization. When these antibodies are formed, they protect the body from future attacks of that same infection.