HMC conducts 13,000 blood transfusions in six months

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Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has provided around 13,000 whole blood transfusions during the first six months of this year, in addition to platelets, plasma, and other components.

Road traffic accident and other trauma patients, those undergo organ transplants, and treatment for various forms of cancer including leukaemia and lymphomas are among the biggest users, Dr Zeyd Merenkov (pictured), Senior Consultant and Division Head Transfusion Medicine at HMC told The Peninsula.

Qatar has 100 percent volunteer blood sufficiency and meets the regulatory requirements of the Council of Europe and the International American Association of Blood Banks.

“In 2016 around 28,000 whole blood units were collected and in the first six months of 2017, it was about 14,000 units. We also collect between 500 and 1,000 platelet apheresis units. Almost all the red cell units prepared (more than 90 percent) are transfused. Since platelets are so important to cancer and trauma patient, we must collect extra to provide contingencies for emergency use. One can never use everything since demand varies by blood type and a very small percent may have to be discarded during production and storage,” said Dr Merenkov.

A whole blood donation is the most common form of donation in which a person gives 450 ml (one pint) of blood from which components are separated in the laboratory.

During a platelet apheresis donation, the donor is connected to a donor apheresis machine (Terumo BCT Trima Accel) and platelets with some plasma are collected. Almost all the red cells are returned to the donor. Experts can also just collect plasma or one or two units of red cells.

The amount of blood stored in each hospital depends on its usage. Most blood is used on the main HMC campus at Hamad General, Women’s Hospital, the new QRI, Heart Hospital, National Centre for Cancer Care and Research, and Rumeilah hospitals. This accounts for about 90 percent of the components prepared.

However, based on their needs, Al Wakra, Al Khor, and Cuban Hospital maintain blood components. In addition, we supply several private hospitals and polyclinics as well as Sidra. HMC Division of Transfusion Medicine provides transfusion testing for the private institutions and trains their staff to handle and transfuse blood components.

“HMC is the prime healthcare provider in the country and has the high level tertiary hospital system. Increased number of organ transplants including kidney, liver, and bone marrow/stem cell being conducted here. Also it provides blood for the trauma care service for the entire country and cancer care which requires more blood transfusions,” said Dr Merenkov.

In reply to a query about frequent call for O group blood donors, Dr Merenkov said that its mainly because group O is universal donor for red cells. “In accidents, we may not know the patient’s identity so we must use group O red cells and AB plasma until we have confirmed the blood type with a new specimen,” he said.

“Also during summer months as many travel, there is an drop in the donors. Normally we collect from 7am to 10pm, between Sunday and Thursday with reduced hours on Friday and Saturday, In Ramadan, donors may give after Iftar until before Sahoor, i.e. during the non-fasting hours only,” he added.

In Qatar, about 45 percent of the population are group O, 30 percent group A, 20 percent group B, and the remainder (less than five percent ) are group AB. (Source)