Blood Facts:

  • In the United States, a blood transfusion is needed about every two seconds.
  • Approximately 4.2 percent of those between the ages of 18 - 75 donate blood in the United States.
  • Average donor gives 1.6 times per year. The statistic1.6 donations per donor is based on data that Kathi Brown, manager, Market Research received from Holland Lab/ARCNET data center for whole blood allogeneic donors and successful donations for calendar year 2000. The data excluded autologous, directed and pheresis donors/donations.
  • 8,250,000 individuals donate each year.
  • Approximately 5 percent of the eligible population in the United States donates blood.
  • Although almost half of the U.S. population has donated, only about 5 percent of the population donate in any given year, the majority of them only once.
  • The Red Cross supplies approximately one-half of the nation's blood supply.
  • 13.2 million units are collected. Fiscal year 2001 the Red Cross collected 6,377,292 units
  • 3,822,195 million volunteer donors gave blood from July 1, 2000 - June 30, 2001.
  • While persons 65 years and older compose 13 percent of the population, they use 25 percent of all blood units transfused.
  • Collections increased 23.6 percent from 4.95 million in calendar year 1995 to 6.12 million in calendar year 2000 (about 4.3 percent compounded annually).
  • Source: Beth MacMahon, senior analyst, Business Operation (August 2001).
  • Each blood donation may help save the life of to four people.
  • Because patients seldom require all of the components of whole blood, it makes sense to transfuse only that portion needed by the patient for a specific condition or disease. This treatment, referred to as "blood component therapy," allows several patients to benefit from one unit of donated whole blood. Blood components include red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitated antihemophilic factor (AHF). Up to four components may be derived from one unit of blood.
  • One donation could help a patient with acute blood loss resulting from trauma or surgery (red blood cells), an individual with leukemia (platelets) and someone who has had a liver transplant (plasma).
  • Patients who benefit most from transfusions of red blood cells include those with chronic anemia resulting from disorders such as kidney failure, malignancies or gastrointestinal bleeding and those with acute blood loss resulting from trauma or surgery.
  • The Red Cross tested 937,037 units of blood for non-Red Cross blood centers in fiscal year 2001 (July 1, 2000 - June 30, 2001).
    Specific non-American Red Cross blood centers include:

Here are some of the ways these units are used:

  • A liver transplant patient, on average, will need six - 10 units of red blood cells, 20 units of plasma and 10 units of platelets (or one - two units of apheresis platelets).
  • A kidney transplant patient, on average, will need one - two units of red blood cells.
  • A heart transplant patient, on average, will need four - six units of red blood cells.
  • An adult open-heart surgery patient, on average, will need two - six units of red blood cells, two - four units of plasma and one - 10 units of platelets (or one - two units of apheresis platelets).
  • A newborn open-heart surgery, on average, will need one - four units of red blood cells, one - two units of plasma, and one - four units of platelets.
  • Prostate cancer surgery may require two - four units of red blood cells.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm may require four - six units of red blood cells.
  • Bone marrow transplant, on average, requires one - two units of red blood cells every other day for two - four weeks and six - eight units of platelets daily (or one - two units of apheresis platelets) for four - six weeks.
  • A leukemia patient may need two - six units of red blood cells and six - eight units of platelets (or one - two units of apheresis platelets) daily for two - four weeks.
  • Patients with sickle cell disease, on average, need 10-15 units of red blood cells to treat severe complications.
  • A premature newborn may need one - four units of red blood cells while in Intensive Care.