How does blood donation impact organ transplantation?06/2/2021
We already know you’re a registered organ donor to help save and heal lives after you pass away (and if you’re not, you can do that here!) But what about something to do in the meantime? Consider donating blood or plasma!
Who coordinates blood and organ donation?
Blood and organ donation, though managed by separate entities, go hand in hand. Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) is the federally designated organ procurement organization for Arizona and coordinates all donation for transplantation for the state. Vitalant is the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit blood services provider, with more than 120 donation centers, including those in Arizona.
Why does blood donation matter?
In order for a transplant recipient to receive the gift of life from a generous donor, the transplant center needs the correct blood type to support the procedure.
Thanks to the generosity of blood donors, it is rare that someone receives the call that their lifesaving transplant procedure cannot be done because the hospital does not have the correct blood type. This is a situation no one wants to experience for themselves or their loved one.
“Often times with the cardiac procedures or heart transplants, [patients] need a significant amount of blood,” says Rhiannon Knueven, manager of Tissue Recovery at DNA. “The last thing that we would want to happen is somebody in line for their procedure, it’s scheduled, and because they don’t have that [blood donation] match, they wouldn’t be able to have a transplant.”
In 2020, 40,000 organ transplants were performed in the U.S., according to United Network for Organ Sharing. Every day in the U.S., patients in hospitals, surgical centers and emergency treatment facilities need approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood donation. Blood donation is vital for lifesaving procedures such as organ donation. Most organ and bone marrow transplants require at least a unit or two of blood. Patients who need a liver transplant may need 20 or more blood units.
Patients who need platelets and plasma donations also require at least a unit or two of blood. Platelets help clot blood to stop bleeding. Cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy can have their body’s platelet count reduced and that can lead to internal bleeding. Your donation can help patients undergoing chemotherapy or in a need of a lifesaving transplant today.
Your blood donation also helps carry out the decision of organ donors and their families to save the life of another. Organ donation would not be possible if it were not for the selfless act of blood donors who choose to give life.
Celebrating World Blood Donor Day
World Blood Donor Day is on June 14, 2021, and it is a great reason to donate today. People who are 16 years old and above can donate and save three lives with their donation. You can donate up to every 56 days or every eight weeks. This also means that you can donate about six times a year, saving approximately 18 lives every year. That is 18 lives in your community that you can save.
Tattoos and ear or body piercings do not defer you from donating in Arizona. Guidelines ask that you wait three months after receiving the tattoo or piercing, but you still have the opportunity to change a blood recipient’s life. Explore your eligibility and make an appointment at https://www.vitalant.org/.