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Blood Donation & Transfusion Facts

Nurse with bags of bloodFind out about blood donation and transfusion, including the different needs for transfusion, compatibility and most popular types. Also, learn even more about donating with the frequently asked questions section.

Blood is Used For:

Accident Victims
Usually between four and 100+ units depending on the injury.

Orthopedics (hip replacement or surgery)
Usually between two and eight units.

Open Heart Surgery
Between six to eight units (can be much more if problems arise).

Neurosurgery (spinal/brain surgery)
Usually uses two to four units.

Premature Babies
One donation can transfuse up to four babies, who sometimes use blood once a day until they are strong enough to go home.

Cancer Patients
These patients usually use blood and blood products on an ongoing basis while undergoing cancer treatment. Pooled platelets and apheresis platelets are the most common blood product used to support cancer patients. Six to ten donors are needed to provide one transfusion of pooled platelets. It is not uncommon for patients to use one or two pools of platelets or apheresis products each week.

Most Common Blood Types
Approximate distribution of blood types in the U.S. population are as follows:
O positive - 38%
O negative - 7%
A positive - 34%
A negative - 6%
B positive - 9%
B negative - 2%
AB positive - 3%
AB negative - 1%

What Blood Types Are You Compatible With?
In an emergency, blood type O- can be given to anyone because it is most likely to be accepted by all blood types.
Type A+ can donate to A+, AB+
Type A- can donate to A-, A+, AB+, AB-
Type B+ can donate to B+, AB+
Type B- can donate to B-, B+, AB-, AB+
Type AB+ can donate to AB+
Type AB- can donate to AB-, AB+
Type O+ can donate to O+, A+, B+, AB+
Type O- can donate to all types. O- is the Universal Donor.