Fast Blood Facts

  • Since blood cannot be synthetically made, there is no substitute
  • About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital will need blood
  • Every two seconds someone needs blood
  • Approximately 41,000 units of blood are used each day in the U.S.
  • An estimated 5 million people need blood transfusions each year throughout the U.S.
  • In the U.S., approximately 15.7 million units of whole blood and red blood cells are collected annually
  • Shortages of blood often occur during the summer and winter holidays
  • Premature infants and children undergoing heart surgery or treatment for cancer require blood from donors of all types, especially type O
  • Patients with anemia need blood transfusions to increase their oxygen carrying capacity
  • More than 70,000 people in the U.S. live with severe sickle cell disease, 98 percent of whom are African American; many receive blood transfusions regularly
  • The rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf when it’s needed by the patient
  • Cancer, transplant and trauma patients and people undergoing open-heart surgery may require platelet transfusions to survive
  • More than 1.5 million people are diagnosed with a new cancer each year; many of them will need blood during their chemotherapy treatment
  • Red blood cells can be stored under normal conditions for up to 42 days
  • Platelets must be used within 5 days
  • Only 7% of the U.S. population gives blood
  • An average adult has about 10 to 12 pints of blood
  • One standard unit or pint of blood equals about 2 cups and weighs about 1 pound
  • Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all of the body
  • The demand for blood transfusions is growing faster than donations
  • Donors with O- type blood, only 6-7% of people, are universal donors because their blood can be given to people of all blood types.
  • 45% of people in the U.S. have type O (+/-) blood. This percentage is higher among Hispanics—57%, and among African Americans—51%
  • People older than 65 use 50% of all donated blood and the demand for blood and blood products will increase as the population ages
  • Severe burn victims can need the platelets from about 20 units of blood during their treatment
  • The average liver transplant patient needs 40 units of red blood cells, 30 units of platelets, and 25 units of fresh frozen plasma
  • People who have been in car accidents and suffered massive blood loss can need transfusions of 50 units or more of red blood cells
  • The average bone marrow transplant requires the platelets from about 120 donations, and the red blood cells from about 20 units of blood
  • Red cells are the most needed blood component—approximately 14 million units are transfused every year in the United States
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints
  • The approximate equivalent of 8 million units of platelets derived from whole blood are transfused in the U.S. every year
  • Patients require 3 million units of plasma every year in the U.S.
  • AABB estimates that 9.2 million volunteers donate blood each year, 30-31% of whom are first time donors