For years you’ve probably heard about the importance of O- blood. It is, after all, the universal donor. Hospitals love it because they can virtually transfuse a unit of O- blood into anyone regardless of their blood type.
Even donors with O+ and A+ blood types have been in high demand. Those blood types account for more than 70% of the country’s population, but rarely do you hear about the need for those with other blood types — especially AB blood.
The problem with AB blood is that it can only be used by those with AB blood, and only 6% of people have either AB+ or AB- blood. While their blood type is needed and their donations are appreciated, the collection of that blood type is often prioritized behind other blood types more often used for transfusions.
But things are changing at MEDIC; AB donors are in high demand.
Blood is made up of red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets. Although AB red cells can only go to those with AB blood, AB plasma can go to anyone. That’s right — AB blood is the universal plasma donor.
Plasma is a commonly used blood product used to help trauma patients, burn victims, and cancer patients. MEDIC now has the technology needed for donors to give only plasma. AB donors are being encouraged to participate.
The donation process is exactly the same. The only difference is that instead of going into a bag, your blood donation will go into a sterile kit where a machine separates the plasma from other blood components. The plasma is collected while the rest of the components are returned to the donor.
The machine used to collect the plasma-only donation is called Alyx. It is the same machine used to for our “double red donations”.
If you or someone you know has AB blood, please encourage them to make a plasma-only donation. It is the best way to make the most meaningful donation and to save even more lives.
For questions, call our donor center (865) 524-3074.