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1. Q:  What is Blood and what it’s quantity in a human being?

    A:  Blood is the red colored fluid in a human, flowing continuously in our body in the circulatory system. Each healthy individual has about 1/12 of his body weight as blood in him. On an average about 5 - 6 litters of blood is present in every human being. 

2.  Q:  What is the composition of Blood?

     A:  Blood mainly contains fluid called plasma and in this are suspended cellular elements. Three types of cells namely Red Blood Cells or RBC's, White Blood Cells or WBC's and tiny platelets form the cellular element.

3.  Q: What are the functions of these components?

     A:  (a) Plasma: acts as a vehicle to carry many substances like glucose, fats, and proteins, enzymes etc., in addition to the cells. 

            (b) Red Cells: carry oxygen from lungs to various body tissues and take back carbondioxide from the cells and tissues to be thrown out of body in the form of exhaled air.

            (c) White cells: are mainly acting as body scavengers and guards.  They help in the immune system of the body and act as defense forces of the body killing the bacteria or any other organisms enter in the body. 

             (d) Platelets:  help in the clotting and coagulation of blood. We have experienced in our life that whenever we get injured the bleeding stops after a few minutes. This brought about by a mechanism called clotting of blood in which platelet plays a very vital role. 

4.   Q:  How is blood formed?

       A:  Blood consists of RBCs WBCs, Platelet suspended in plasma. In early embryonic life blood cells are formed in liver & spleen. But by fifth month the Haemopoisis (i.e., formation of blood.) occurs in bone marrow and lymphatic tissues. At birth the entire bone marrow is red and active. Gradually as the child grows the marrow only in the flat bones and vertebrae remains red. The RBC, grannulocytes of WBC & platelets one mainly produce by bone marrow. The lymphocytes, monocytes, plasma cells are formed in the lymphoid and Reticulo Endothelial tissues. The orderly proliferation of the cells in the bone marrow and their release into circulation is carefully regulated according to the needs of body. Everyday in our body new blood cells are being produced in the bone marrow and every day old cells are dying and are being removed from the body.

Red blood cells have life of 120 days - that means any red cell formed in the body will live for the next 120 days and when it becomes old and senile it is thrown out. White cells for few days and platelets for a few hours. Thus daily new cells are added to the circulation and old is removed from it.

5.   Q:   What is Hemoglobin?

       A:  Hemoglobin is a substance present in the red cells. It is helpful in carrying the oxygen and carbondioxide. On an average, in a healthy male it should be between 14 – 16 Gms % and in a female it should be about 12 - 14 Gms %. This is also being daily synthesized and new one is replacing the old stock.

6.   Q:  What are the various blood groups?

       A:  Mainly every individual has two types of blood groups. First is called the ABO - Grouping and the second type is called Rh - grouping.

In the ABO - Group there are four categories namely "A" Group, "B" Group, "O" Group and "AB" Group.

In the Rh - Group either the individual is Rh-positive, or Rh-negative. Rh- is a factor called as Rhesus factor that has come to us from our ancestors called Rhesus monkeys.

            Thus each and very human being will fall in one of the following Groups.
A positive or A negative
B positive or B negative
O positive or O negative
AB positive or AB negative

 Although there are certain sub groups also besides some other classifications. For all practical purposes this should suffice.

7.   Q:  What is the importance of knowing these groups?

      A:  For all practical and routine purposes, it is ideal to transfuse to the patient the same group of blood, which he belongs to. It is only under very dire emergency that we take O Group as universal donor and AB Groups as universal recipient. Under no circumstances O group can get any other blood except O. Similarly A Group patient cannot be given B group blood and vice versa.

8.   Q:  Why is it?

      A:  This is due to the reason that, the blood of A Group people contains anti - B antibodies. In B group people there are anti - An antibodies. If we give A group blood to a B group patient, it is bound to be incompatible and will result in serious consequences.

9.   Q:  What about Rh - positive and Rh - negative?

      A:  A patient with Rh negative blood cannot be given Rh positive blood as the antigen-antibody REACTIONS WILL RESULT IN SEVERE consequences.

 In the females who have Rh negative with their husbands being Rh positive, the first child with Rh positive may be normal; subsequently she may not conceive or may have repeated abortions. There may be intra uterine fetal death. If the child born is alive, it will suffer from a fatal disease called "Erythroblastosis Foetalis.” Now mother's can be given an injection of anti-D within 24 hours of the delivery of a Rh-positive child and thus protect the next baby from this catastrophe.

10 Q:  In which situations do patients need blood transfusion?

        A:  There are many situations which doctors’ fact daily in which patient needs blood to save his life. We can giver him some of the plasma substitutes for the time being. But till we give blood everything becomes temporary measure.

A patient needs blood after major accident in which there is loss of blood.

No major surgery is performed without blood as there is bound to be blood loss. On an average, for every open heart surgery about 6 units of blood is required per head. In Gynecological and Obstretics departments a lady may need large amount of blood to be transfused for saving not only her life but also of the child that she carries in situations APH (bleeding before birth), or PPH (bleeding after birth).

For patients with blood diseases like severe Anaemias especially Aplastic Anaemias Leucaemias (blood cancer) Haemophilia (bleeding disorder), Thalassemia etc. Blood is the only hope for, living and they have to get repeated transfusions. In many cases like poisoning, drug reactions and conditions of shock, burns and many other situations, blood transfusion is the only way to save the precious human life.

To put it in a nut shell, "There is no SUBSTITUTE FOR BLOOD and a patient who needs blood to save his life can only be saved if blood is transfused to him".

11.   Q:  What is a unit of blood?

        A:  Usually blood is collected either in glass bottles or in plastic bags. They contain a watery fluid, which prevents the blood from getting coagulated. On an average we draw about 350/450- of blood from a person and this blood plus the amount of anti coagulant present in the bottle or bag is known as one unit of blood.

12.   Q:  Can blood of animals be transfused to human beings?

        A: Scientists have tried a lot but so far they are not successful. Only blood of a human being can be transfused to a human patient.

13 Q:  What are the various types of blood donations?

        A:  There are three types of blood donors: -
 (1) PROFESSIONAL DONORS - who sell their blood for money. Actually these are slurs and curse on our civilized society. Under no circumstances professional donors should be allowed to give blood. They sell their blood, which is of very poor quality and can transmit very dangerous diseases to the recipient. It is illegal to take blood from any professional donor.
(2) REPLACEMENT DONATION- The healthy relatives and friends of the patient give their blood of any groups in the blood bank. However from the stocks available in the blood bank, the required numbers of units of the same blood group as that of the patient are given. This is called as Replacement Donations.
(3) VOLUNTARY DONATION- Here a donor donates his blood voluntarily. His blood can be used for any patient even without telling his identity. This is the BEST TYPE of blood donation where motivated human beings give their blood in an act of high human selfless service--NISHKAMA SEVA.

14.   Q:  Does the donor suffer from any harmful effects after giving blood donations?

        A:  Absolutely not, rather a donor after having given blood voluntarily gets a feeling of great pleasure, peace and bliss. Soon within a period of 24 - 48 hours the same amount of NEW BLOOD gets formed in his body which helps the donor in many ways. His own body resistance improves, the circulation improves, and he himself feels healthier than before.

15.   Q:  Does donor need any rest after donating blood?

        A:  Yes. Donor needs rest for 15 - 20 minutes preferably lying down so that the amount of blood that goes into the bag soon gets poured into the circulation from the body pools in a natural way. The donor should rest for about 20-30 minutes before resuming his routine work; it takes only 3-5 minutes to take blood from a donor.

16.   Q:  Can a donor do his work after donating blood?

         A:  Of course- just after resting for 20-30 minutes the donor can resume his routine work. He should preferably avoid doing very hard work for a few hours. 

17.   Q:  What special diets a donor should take after giving blood?

        A:  Immediately after resting for 15 - 20 minutes a donor is given some liquid  (fluid) to take. It may be a cup of coffee or milk or fruit juice etc. along with a few biscuits or fruit. The donor needs no other special diet. With the routine balanced diet, which we take normally, the donor gets his blood replenished within 24 - 48 hours. 

18.   Q:  Who is a healthy donor?

        A:  Any person within the age group of 18 - 65 years with a body weight as minimum 45 kgs, and having hemoglobin content as minimum 12 gm%.

19.  Q.  How frequently a donor can donate blood?

       A.  It takes about 6 - 8 weeks for the hemoglobin to be synthesized in the body. THREE MONTHS time should be there as a very safe interval.

20.  Q.  Do any diseases debar a donor from giving blood?

       A.  Yes, if the donor has suffered from any of the under-mentioned diseases: -

Fever:  He should not have suffered from fever for the past 15 days.

Jaundice:  A donor must not have his blood tested positive for AUSTRALIA ANTIGEN.

Blood transmitted diseases: Like Syphilis, Malaria, Filaria etc., debar a donor from donating blood till he is treated and is free from them.

Drug: If a donor is taking drugs like Aspirin, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetics, hormones, corticosteroids etc., he is unfit to donate blood.

AIDS. No person having HIV positive can be allowed to donate blood.


21. Q.  Do you test the blood before transfusion? 

      A.  Yes. We screen every donor's and every patient's blood for AIDS, VDRL, jaundice (HBsAG, HCV), malaria etc. with most modern techniques before any blood is issued from our blood bank.

Transfusion Reactions

1.  Febrile (Fever) or Pyrogenic reactions with in 1 to 24 hours.
2.  Allergic reactions.
3.  Haemolytic reactions-this is severe and some times fatal (death).
4. Transmission of diseases-syphilis, jaundice, malaria, AIDS etc.
5.  Cardiac over load.
6.  Electrolytic reactions.  e.g.:
a) Too much citrate leads to calcium depletion which results in tetany, bleeding etc.
b) Potassium intoxication - Hyper Kalemia.
7.   Hemorrhagic reactions due to massive transfusion.
8.   Transfusion Siderosis (Iron excess)
9.   Thrombophlebitis
10.    Iso- sensitization.
11.   Rarely - Air and fat embolisms


The symptoms begin only after a few ml. of blood has been given:

1. Patient complains of shivering, restlessness, nausea, and vomiting. Precardial and lumbar pain.

2. Cold, clammy skin with cyanosis.

3. Pulse rate increases, respiratory rate increases. Temperature increases to 38° to 40° C. [101° to 105° F].

4. B. P. falls and patient passes into a state of shock.

5. Haemoglobinaemia, haemoglobinurea (urine turns red); Oliguria (urine becomes scanty or the urinary output is reduced) and Anuria (total output of urine becomes 200 ml. a day)

6. Jaundice appears after a few hours and in some cases anuria persists and uremia develops. This may lead to death.


22. Q.  How long can the blood be stored?

       A.  The whole blood can be stored up to 35 days, in CPDA anti coagulant solution in refrigerated condition at 4° - 6° C. But actually the demand is so much that hardly blood remains stored for so long period and is used much before expiry.

23. Q. Can we separate blood into its components?

       A. Yes! Now with technical advancement, we can make components of the blood and store them. For example, plasma can be separated from the whole blood and stored up to 1 year in frozen state at - 30°C labeled as FRESH FROZEN PLASMA. Similarly other components like Platelet Rich Plasma; Platelet Concentrate (can be stored as a life saving measure up to 5 days now at 20°- 24°C in a platelet incubator and agitator); Cryoprecipitate (which is very useful in treating bleeding disorders due to the deficiency of factor VIII and IX); Factor VIII and IX; Albumin, Globulin and many others.

Truly speaking these days in good blood banks 100 % blood collected is converted into components and stored. The patients may not require whole blood for example a patient whose hemoglobin is low and is thus anemic may just require Packed Cells i.e. only red cells or a patient with burns may need more of plasma than cells; or a patient with hemophilia may just require factor VIII.

Thus component therapy has revolutionized the blood transfusion services all over the world.

Now with the advent of Cell- separators we can draw a particular component from the donor directly and rest of the constituents go back to the donor.  Such a facility exists in our blood bank . We have the latest model of AMICUS APHERESIS System with us which can perform a multiple functions.
24.   Q. Are there some other benefits of blood donation?

        A.  Yes see what a noble selfless service it is. It gives the donor a feeling of joy and contentment. Also this Liquid Love creates the feeling of Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Mankind as blood knows no caste, color, creed, religion or race, country continent or sex.

What can be a better example of Human Integration through Service (SEVA?

It is estimated that the requirement of Blood in Delhi falls short by 150,000 units each year and this will go up with the increasing influx of people into the city. The  Mission statement is “Blood donation leads to healthy life...”

Why donate Blood:

Blood has no substitute.
Blood cannot be manufactured synthetically.
Blood is required round the clock to save human life.
Annual requirement in Delhi is 500,000 units.
Blood from paid blood donor is unhealthy and risky.

Benefit to Donors:

Donor card which is valid for one year.
Reports for HIV I & II, Hepatitis –B (Both Surface antigen and Core Antibody), Hepatitis- C, VDRL and Malaria.
Reports of Nine Haematological Parameters of Blood (CBC).

Medical Benefits:

Blood taken is regenerated in the body within 24 Hrs. and the new Blood has better quality.
People who are regular donors are least prone to suffer from: High Blood Pressure, Heart attacks, CVA, Cancer and several other diseases.

Regular voluntary donors are better equipped to handle stress.

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