Blood and its components have many uses.

Hospitals stock some of the more common blood components used in emergencies, but usually blood products are not ordered until they are needed. They are kept at the Rock River Valley Blood Center until a hospital orders them.

Red cells can be used for 42 days after they are donated. They are used in the treatment of accident victims, to replace blood lost during surgery, to treat burn victims and to increase the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity. They are also used in the treatment of anemia that can’t be medically corrected.

Platelets are stored separate from other components and must be used in the five days following the donation. They are commonly used to treat bone marrow failure, leukemia and cancer patients, low platelet count or other conditions causing abnormally functioning platelets.

Plasma has a much longer shelf life and is often frozen for later use. Once thawed, plasma is used during cardiac surgery, for burn victims, and to treat bleeding disorders. For example, bleeding disorders can occur in liver failure, when too much of a blood thinner has been given or when severe bleeding and massive transfusions result in low levels of clotting factors.

Plasma is often used to make therapies for bleeding disorders:

Factor VII concentrate is used in the treatment and prevention of bleeding episodes.

Factor VIII concentrate and cryoprecipitate are used by patients with hemophilia A (classic hemophilia), which is caused by a deficiency of factor VIII. Cryoprecipitate is prepared from plasma and contains fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, factor VIII, factor XIII and fibronectin.

Factor IX concentrate is used by patients with hemophilia B (“Christmas disease”), which is caused by a deficiency of clotting factor IX.


A transfusion is a procedure that replaces the blood lost by a patient with the blood of a generous donor like you!

After you give your blood, while you’re snacking on cookies and showing off your arm wrap, your blood begins its journey to save lives! Through one donation, you can help save as many as up to 3 lives. No wonder RRVBC donors and volunteers feel so amazing. And, who ever thought saving lives could be this easy?