Components of Blood and its Uses
Whole blood is separated into its component parts for patients needing a particular product. The main blood collection bag has up to three satellite bags attached to it. In a centrifuge process, the red blood cells, platelets, and plasma are spun, separated and readied for transfusion.

1. Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and carry oxygen to the body and remove carbon dioxide. They are needed for accident victims, certain surgeries, and patients with anemia and blood disorders. After processing, red cells are refrigerated and can be stored for up to 42 days.

2. Platelets are tiny cells, formed in the bone marrow, that control bleeding by helping the blood to clot. The body replaces platelets within 72 hours of donation. Leukemia and cancer patients need platelets because chemotherapy destroys their own supply of platelets. Platelets are stored at room temperature and can be stored for up to 5 days.

3. White blood cells WBCs) are cells of your immune system and defend body against infections and foreign objects. They are also formed in the bone marrow. As you frequently notice that minor cuts are healed automatically and minor cough or sneezing is also cured automatically. The white blood cells have a rather short life cycle, living from a few days to a few weeks. A drop of blood can contain anywhere from 7,000 to 25,000 white blood cells at a time. If an invading infection fights back and persists, that number will significantly increase.

4. Plasma is the liquid part of the blood and makes up 55% of blood volume. It is comprised of 92% water,7% protein, and 1% minerals, and is essential in the clotting/coagulation process. Plasma is used for patients experiencing heavy bleeding and for burn victims. Plasma is frozen and can be stored for up to 12 months.