Every adult has around five litres of blood inside them, accounting for around 8% of their total body weight. Usage of donated blood by transfusion was a 20th century phenomenon and has become a long established therapeutic necessity. Around 2,000,000 units are transfused each year in UK, red cells remaining by far the most commonly transfused blood productL.
There are many areas in which blood transfusions come useful – such as serious injuries, illnesses, operations, childbirth – and in the case of red cells, often in the case of severe anaemia and blood loss.
With an ageing population and increased number of therapeutic interventions, comes many consequences. More elderly people now present with illnesses and for surgery – which have become more elaborate and extensive, increasing the need for supply and risk of complications. Unfortunately, demand outstrips supply, especially with the increase cardiac surgery and coronary heart disease, and changes in practice, especially involving chemotherapy and stem-cell transplant regimens.
As one’s own body loses own capacity to make adequate red cells – with our own genetics prevent their formation – the implications of not transfusing are otherwise catastrophic, with no viable alternative to improve oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
The increasing demand for supply requires the need for new approaches to recruitment and retentiont of future generations of donors.1 Spirally costs due to safety procedures in place make sure that that allogeneic red cells must be restricted as an asset. (SS) Despite such measures, there remains the risk of transmitting infectious diseases and developing an immune reaction to donated blood.
The NHS spends about £500 million on producing blood components for transfusing each year, involving the processing of around 2.5 million blood donationsSS. However, many challenges are met in the supply and usage of such products to meet the increasing and potentially unsustainable demand.
Challenges in supply
Before application of science do work their medical wonders, there is the reliance for the donors to provide the supply, of which is a huge shortage. Around 1.6 million donate blood each year, which is only 4% of the eligible population, as reported by NHSB, with supplies plummeting during holiday periodsD,
Public from the age of 17 onwards are eligible to donate, yet the younger population is consistently declining. In addition, current and past donors constant age towards the division where they are more likely to become recipients, contributing to the unsustainability.
Thus the need to recruit donors for the present and future is vital – to enlist and retain.
With modern technology, donors and blood services can now interact in new ways. Awareness can be increased via leaflets given out in person, by post, email and text message. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are social norms for blood services to use to. Websites have become more...