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Transfusion Medicine: Blood Banks, Donation FAQs, and Benefits

Doctors at the Department of Transfusion Medicine, Nayati Healthcare, share insights on Blood Donation

Transfusion, Medicine, Blood
Transfusion medicine deals with the study of blood and its associated components as a part of R&D and treatment in the field of Hematology. Pixabay

Transfusion medicine deals with the study of blood and its associated components as a part of R&D and treatment in the field of Hematology. Unlike many other medical procedures, transfusion is a multi-level process. After a person is screened for the ability to donate, his blood is tested for abnormalities and stored safely so that, it can be used by any patient depending upon his blood group and unit requirement. Since critical cases require multiple blood units at short notice, blood banks are set up to help patients at any given point of time. 

Blood Banks 

Blood banks store different types of blood at regular intervals as they factor in the emergency requirement of their hospital or any nearby clinic. Each unit of the donated blood is divided into at least three parts: Plasma, Red Blood Cells (RBCs), and Platelets. These parts can be stored for up to one year, 42 days, and five days respectively. 

Transfusion, Medicine, Blood
After a person is screened for the ability to donate, his blood is tested for abnormalities and stored safely.

People often hesitate to donate blood due to the common myth that their blood is not stored properly and hence, goes to waste. This is due to lack of information. Platelets are wasted in some of the cases, due to short storage life. However, RBCs are instrumental in saving countless lives during the period of storage. Besides, plasma is used to manufacture medicines that usually have to be imported in India. Such optimal utilization helps the hospitals to reduce the cost for patients themselves and enables them to handle critical cases easily. 

Blood banks can effectively serve their purpose with the corresponding participation of young citizens. Dr Naveen Agnihotri, Sr. Consultant & HOD – Blood Bank & Transfusion Medicine Nayati Healthcare, states that due to minimal sensitization and lack of exposure, many people living in tier-2, tier-3 cities are not aware of how, when, or who can donate blood. And considering the rising number of accidents and critical medical cases in the country, citizens need to step forward, get their queries resolved, and contribute towards this noble cause. 

Donation FAQs

Q) Who can donate blood?

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Anybody between the age group of 18 to 60 is eligible for donating blood. However, doctors perform specific medical checkups to identify if the individual is fit to donate blood. While height is not a major consideration in the process, the weight of the donor must be above 45 kg.

A person who is more than 60 years but less than 65 years of age, can also donate blood provided he/ she has donated at least once earlier.

Q) How much blood is extracted during a donation?

Every individual has average 3.5-5 liters of blood in the body out of which 350 to 450 ml is extracted based on his/her weight and fitness level. The volume of extracted blood is recovered within 24 hours.

Transfusion, Medicine, Blood
Unlike many other medical procedures, transfusion is a multi-level process. Pixabay

Q) Is there any adverse effect on my health after donation?

No, there is no adverse effect on the donor’s health as the human body has a big reserve and a fast regeneration process. Doctors at Nayati Healthcare recommend the donors to consume good amount of fluids within 24 hours of the donation. Every donor has to wait for at least three months before donating blood again. 

Benefits of blood donation 

Apart from making the difference between the life and death of a patient, listed below are the other major benefits of blood donation:

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  • Awareness about one’s fitness
  • Reveals hidden/prolonged medical conditions such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C that are usually not diagnosed in routine blood tests
  • Blood rejuvenation, which enhances psychological satisfaction and happiness
  • The feeling of helping another human being to live a healthy life boosts the donor’s morale

Key contributions by Nayati Healthcare

According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Government of India, Uttar Pradesh ranks the lowest in terms of blood collection and voluntary donation. To improve these conditions, Nayati Healthcare is the first hospital in Uttar Pradesh (outside Delhi NCR) to have a NABH accredited blood bank, which serves as a testament to its quality. Nayati Healthcare is also capable of performing transplant operations that require blood plasma exchange. Furthermore, Nayati’s Blood Bank regularly provides nearly 5 to 10 percent blood, including plasma and platelets to nearby clinics and charitable hospitals at discounted rates and without any requirement for donation by the relatives. 

Also, Nayati Healthcare played a crucial role in saving the life of a patient at AIIMS, Jodhpur by transporting a unit of rare Bombay blood group to the hospital. 

Due to Nayati Healthcare’s location near National Highway, the 24×7 blood bank is one of the most vital components in the treatment of trauma patients. According to a doctor at the hospital, nearly 70-80 units of blood are used in trauma cases every month. Apart from this, countless lives are saved in cases involving pregnancy emergencies, PPH or ruptured uterus is easily treated within the recommended time frame. In this way, Nayati Blood Bank is playing a crucial role in saving lives of road traffic accident victims, mothers and newborn babies in the region.

Nayati Blood Bank Department has started training doctors from June 2019 in the field of Transfusion Medicine by offering DNB degree (a degree equivalent to MD). Nayati is one of the 7 centers in the country to offer DNB in Transfusion Medicine, to cater to the shortage of trained manpower in the field.

As transfusion medicines continue to play an important role in the treatment of patients, hospitals such as Nayati Healthcare continue to increase the awareness about the noble deed of blood donation via regular outdoor donation camps, providing life-saving blood and treatment as well as increasing the trained manpower in the hinterland of the country.

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Strains of Malaria Resistant to Two Key Anti-Malarial Medicines Becoming More Dominant in Southeast Asia

Strains of malaria resistant to two key anti-malarial medicines are becoming more dominant in Vietnam

Malaria, Medicine, Asia
FILE - Children living in the Thai-Myanmar border come to a malaria clinic to get tested in Sai Yoke district, Kanchanaburi province, Thailand, Oct. 26, 2012. VOA

Strains of malaria resistant to two key anti-malarial medicines are becoming more dominant in Vietnam, Laos and northern Thailand after spreading rapidly from Cambodia, scientists warned Monday.

Using genomic surveillance to track the spread of drug-resistant, the scientists found that the strain, known as KEL1/PLA1, has also evolved and picked up new genetic mutations which may make it yet more resistant to drugs.

“We discovered [it] had spread aggressively, replacing local parasites, and had become the dominant strain in Vietnam, Laos and northeastern Thailand,” said Roberto Amato, who worked with a team from Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute and Oxford University and Thailand’s Mahidol University.

It is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are carried by mosquitoes and spread through their blood-sucking bites.

Malaria, Medicine, Asia
FILE – Village malaria worker Phoun Sokha, 47, shows his malaria medicine kit at O’treng village on the outskirts of Pailin, Cambodia, Aug. 29, 2009. VOA

Almost 220 million people were infected with malaria in 2017, according to World Health Organization estimates, and the disease killed 400,000 of them. The vast majority of cases and deaths are among babies and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria can be successfully treated with medicines if it’s caught early enough, but resistance to anti-malarial drugs is growing in many parts of the world, especially in Southeast Asia.

The first-line treatment for malaria in many parts of Asia in the last decade has been a combination of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine, also known as DHA-PPQ. Researchers found in previous work that a strain of malaria had evolved and spread across Cambodia between 2007 and 2013. This latest research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, found it has crossed borders and tightened its grip.

“The speed at which these resistant malaria parasites have spread in Southeast Asia is very worrying,” said Olivo Miotto, who co-led the work.

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“Other drugs may be effective at the moment, but the situation is extremely fragile and this study highlights that urgent action is needed,” he said. (VOA)