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Understanding Different Types of Blood Donations

Understanding Different Types of Blood Donations

Different Types of Blood Donation

According to the American Red Cross, someone is in need of blood in the United States every two seconds, and just one donation can help save up to three lives. But, you may find yourself wondering how donating blood makes a difference.

To help you better understand how your donation can help save lives, the health experts at Southwest General are here to break down three different types of blood donation.

Whole Blood Donation

With whole blood donations, you donate your blood in its original form. This type of blood donation is the most flexible because it can be separated into component parts (red blood cells, plasma or platelets) as needed. However, whole blood most often is used for emergencies and surgical procedures. All blood types are ideal for this type of donation.

Platelet Donation

Platelets are small cells found in your blood that help to form blood clots and stop wounds from bleeding. Typically, platelet donations are used during cancer treatments, organ transplants and other surgical procedures for those with life-threatening conditions.


During the donation process, an apheresis machine is used to collect your platelets while returning red blood cells and a majority of your plasma back to you. According to the American Red Cross, the ideal candidates for this type of donation are those who are blood type:

  • A positive
  • A negative
  • B positive
  • O positive
  • AB positive
  • AB negative

Plasma Donation

Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood, making up about 55 percent of your blood’s composition. The plasma in your blood is mostly composed of water, but also it contains proteins, salts, sugars, hormones and vitamins. Blood plasma is used to treat patients during emergencies and traumas to help stop bleeding.

When you donate your plasma, it is collected in a unique process that separates the plasma from the other components of your blood and safely returns them to your body. The ideal blood type for this type of blood donation are people who are AB negative or AB positive; this is because AB plasma can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type.

Primary and Specialty Care in Ohio

The Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. includes both primary care and specialty care physicians who are committed to providing patients with high-quality medical care. Our team of board-certified specialists and skilled physicians work to raise the bar for excellence in health care service for our community. To learn more about our primary and specialty care services or to schedule an appointment, visit our website.