Blood samples can be taken either at fixed sites of the EFS or in mobile collections organized throughout the year. With the platelet donation process this is important now.
Before a blood donation, it is important to respect the following tips:
- Make sure you are fit (no fatigue, discomfort or pain)
- Not to be fasting
- To be well hydrated
- Avoid alcoholic drinks in the hours before donation.
Before blood donation, a confidential medical interview with a doctor or nurse is systematic to evaluate any contraindications to blood donation. A test to determine the level of hemoglobin in the blood may sometimes be needed just before the sample is taken. The whole blood sample itself is very fast, between 8 and 10 minutes, during which the donor is lying down and supervised by a nurse. Between 420 and 480 ml of blood are collected, depending on the weight of the donor. After harvesting, a rest and monitoring phase is required, and a snack is offered to the donor. In total, the whole blood donation lasts about 45 minutes.
For a first donation, a piece of identification is mandatory. However, it is not necessary to have a health book or a blood group card. From the second blood donation, the EFS provides the donor with a donor card, which makes it easier and faster to identify each donation.
- Plasma and platelet samples are different from the whole blood sample. These samples are taken only at the EFS fixed sites, by apheresis, that is to say that only the blood component of interest is taken, the rest returns immediately to the donor. For a plasma donation, approximately 90 minutes are required, and up to 750 ml of plasma are collected. For platelet donation, approximately 2 hours are required, and 450 to 650 ml of platelet-rich plasma is taken.
- After a donation of blood, it is advisable not to practice intense physical effort in the hours that follow. To ensure blood safety, the donor must immediately inform EFS in the following circumstances:
Signs of infection appear within 15 days of donation
- Medically important information was missed at the time of the medical interview
- The donor feels discomfort or discomfort in the days following the donation.
Between each donation, it is essential to respect a minimum period, variable according to the type of donation:
- At least 8 weeks for whole blood, knowing that a woman can give her blood at most 4 times a year, and a man 6 times a year.
- At least 4 weeks for platelets, with a possibility of giving up to 12 times a year.
- At least 2 weeks for plasma, with the possibility to give up to 24 times a year.
Blood donation and transfusion chain
Once the blood is collected, it cannot be directly transfused to a patient. The blood bag follows a rigorously regulated course, which comprises 4 main stages:
The collection of blood or a component of the blood
The preparation of blood products:
The blood is filtered to remove white blood cells, then centrifuged to separate the different components of the blood: red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Each component is isolated. Patients are not transfused with whole blood, but only with the blood component (s) they require. Three products are mainly prepared from blood samples:
- Erythrocyte concentrates, that is to say red blood cells, which have a shelf life of 42 days
- Platelet concentrates, i.e. platelets, which have a shelf life of 5 days
- Frozen plasma, which can be stored for a year.
Biological qualification of donations: samples are taken from the blood bag for a series of biological tests, to check the absence of bacteria and viruses in the sample. In case of problems, the blood bag is destroyed. The blood products are distributed as and when needed to health facilities for patients in need.