Testing & Processing Donated Blood

Step 1: Processing of Blood

Donated blood can be stored and transfused to a patient in its unmodified state after the appropriate tests are done on it. This is known as ‘whole blood’ transfusion.

However, donate blood can be used more effectively if it is processed into components, such as concentrated red cells, platelet concentrates, plasma and cryoprecipitate.

Read more about how blood products are used.

The process:

  • Information about the donated blood is scanned into our computer database.
  • With the help of high-performing centrifuges, blood is separated it the different components
  • Each component is packed as a unit, stored in either refrigerators or freezers depending on the type. These are the units are issued for transfusion.
How does the blood service ensure confidentiality of information that donors provide and their test results?

All information that blood donors provide when they give blood and the results of their test(s) are kept confidential. With the help of our Blood Information Management System (BSIS) and other computer systems access to donor information is restricted to only professional staff who use it for their work.

Personal information regarding the donor and their donation is only used to provide better services for them and the recipients that may receive their donated blood or blood products prepared from their donated blood. Donors’ personal information is not disclosed to any third party.

What happens to the blood that is donated?

The blood is put in a blood bank refrigerator under quarantine, which means it cannot be used until it is tested. Donated blood can be stored for 35 days in a blood bank fridge from the time it is collected, after which it can no longer be used.

Donated blood undergoes a series of steps once it gets to the blood centre laboratory.

Step 2: Microbiological testing

When donated blood is brought to the Blood Centre, they come along with their corresponding samples in tubes for testing.

Tests are performed on these samples to establish the blood type and identify any transfusion transmissible infections. Laboratory tests that are performed on blood samples are

  1. Hepatitis B and C
  2. HIV 1 & 2
  3. Syphilis
  4. Syphilis
  5. ABO and Rh “D” blood grouping

Step 3: Storage and issue

  • It takes between 24-72 hours for all tests to be conducted on donated blood. When the results of the tests are received, safe units are labeled with the help of a computer system.
  • Each tested unit is stored in a separate refrigerator or freezer depending on the type.
  • The blood product unit is then ready and available to be issued or transferred to hospital blood banks or other blood centers.