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Tuesday, 26 March 2019 06:09 pm

Blood donors desperately needed

Jun 7th, 2016 | By | Category: Latest News, News

The New Zealand Blood Service needs more donors, in particular plasma donors.

Sarah Nizniak, the Clinical Nurse Leader at the Wellington Donor Centre, says that plasma is the bread and butter of blood medication and that they are actively trying to get people who are whole blood donors to convert to plasma.

“We collect what we need and use what we need, every drop that is collected here comes back here,” she says.

But there are reasons some people can’t donate.

Anyone born in England, Ireland or France or who lived there for more than six months between 1980 – 1996 can’t donate.

The reason is because they may have been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob, or Mad Cow  disease which was around at the time.

“It really hurts to tell someone they can’t donate from things outside of anyone’s control,” Sarah Nizniak says.

Blood is also tested for Hepatitis B, Hep C, HIV and Syphilis, which are World Health Organisation mandatory tests.

Blood waiting to be delivered to lab.

“When you donate blood you’re donating your well being, health and fitness as a gift. It is all part of the gift,” she says.

It takes less than 10 minutes to donate whole blood, less than an hour for plasma and platelet donation about two hours.

Plasma is then made into something called Antihemophilic factor which is the main blood medicine used in hospital.

It is a clotting agent that stops bleeding and is used for people who don’t produce clotting agents themselves as well as people who suddenly bleed in high risk situations like surgery.

In the laboratory donated blood gets changed into different components thought the use of a centrifuge.

It is here that the blood gets readied for use in the blood bank.

Blood that has gone though the centrifuge. On the top you can see plasma and the bottom is red blood cells.

Blood that has gone though the centrifuge. On the top  plasma red blood cells on the bottom.


Laboratory scientist Antony Nalder says conditions in the lab are tightly controlled.

The contamination risk is minimised by the use of heated sealers to separate components.

He says most of the blood in the bank comes from blood drives.





New Zealand Blood Service

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