Consider Donating Blood This Week

February 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm Leave a comment

This is the lifeline of a child undergoing open-heart surgery.  My daughter required three units of blood  and two platelet transfusions.  Without it, surgery would not be possible.

Here is the catch…Infants and heart patients are more likely to die or suffer other serious complications when blood that is over two weeks old is used for surgical transfusions.  So, while the American Red Cross receives close to 15 million units each year, very little of that is suitable for heart babies and patients, as much of their blood is frozen and stored.

Our local children’s hospitals here in Utah use a company called ARUP.  The blood is never frozen and is “fresh”, meaning it has only been refrigerated and is less than two weeks old.

Researchers are not certain why stored blood does not assimilate into the body and heart as well in heart patients.  Some researchers believe that the blood loses vital oxygen carrying chemicals, thus delivering oxygen depleted blood.  Others find that frozen blood moves through the body more slowly because red blood cells become rigid during freezing.

According to an MSNBC article published in 2008 researchers studied the records of 6,000 patients who received transfusions.  Half received old blood, averaging 20 days old, while half received “new” blood, averaging 11 days old.  The findings concluded that the one year survival rate of patients given old blood was 89% while the one year survival rate of patients given new blood was 93%.

Additionally, complications were more frequent in patients with old blood transfusions.  The complications included  kidney failure, blood infections, multiple organ failure, and needing ventilator care more than 72 hours after surgery.

While the FDA finds the results “provocative”, feeling that the study needs further investigation for any finality, Surgeons have felt for years that new blood is better for heart patients.  Hospitals which perform open-heart surgery on children are trying to reduce the amount of blood transfusions needed during operation, however; open-heart surgery generally uses blood products.

While this article is informative, especially for CHD patients and families…it serves an alternate purpose as well.  This week being CHD week, what better way to support CHD by donating to a blood bank that supplies blood to hospitals where open-heart surgeries are performed?  I’ve made my appointment for Wednesday, February 10 at our local ARUP services.  Will you join me?


For more information on ARUP in Utah, the only supplier to Primary Children’s Medical Center and Shriner’s Childrens Hospital, visit their website here.  You can also follow them on facebook.  This week they are in need of platelets, although your first donation you can only give whole blood.  They also need A+, O-, and B+ types, although any type is welcome!!  Consider organizing a blood drive also.  What better way to commemorate CHD awareness week than by giving a donation of lifesaving blood?

Contact ARUP today at:

Sandy Facility

9786 Sandy Parkway (500 West)
Sandy, UT 84070

Research Park Facility

500 Chipeta Way (Building 580)
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Schedule an Appointment

Please call (801) 584-5272 to make an appointment to donate.

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Entry filed under: CHD Awareness, CHD Hospitalization, Congenital Heart Defect, Open Heart Surgery. Tags: , , , , .

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