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Glossary terms A–Z definitions


Allogeneic donation

Blood and blood components collected from an individual and intended for transfusion to another individual, for use in medical devices or as source material for manufacturing into medicinal products.


Natural proteins made by the immune system of the body. They are needed to stop some infections.


Pronounced ay-fur-ee-sis,  it comes from the Greek word meaning “to take away” or “to separate” It is a method of obtaining one or more blood components by machine processing of whole blood in which the residual components of the blood are returned to the donor during or at the end of the process.

Autologous donation

Blood and blood components collected from an individual, intended solely for subsequent autologous transfusion to the individual.



Whole blood collected from a single donor and processed either for transfusion or further manufacturing.

Blood Bank

Blood Banks are laboratories within the hospital that store and distribute blood products to clinical departments in local hospitals. This might involve testing of the patient to ensure the blood product is suitable for use.

Blood component

Therapeutic components of blood (red cells, white cells, platelets, plasma) that can be prepared by centrifugation, filtration, and freezing using conventional blood bank methodology.

Blood product

Any therapeutic product derived from human blood or plasma.

Blood transfusion

A treatment arranged by a doctor which involves giving blood or a product made from blood, to a patient.


Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

A rare disease that affects the brain and causes severe mental failure, dementia and eventually death.


Plasma component prepared from fresh frozen plasma by freeze-thaw precipitation of proteins and subsequent concentration and resuspension of the precipitated proteins in a small volume of plasma.



Suspension of the eligibility of an individual to donate blood or blood components, such suspension being either permanent or temporary.


First time donor

Someone who has never donated either blood or a component of blood.

Fresh frozen plasma

A component prepared from whole blood or from plasma collected by apheresis frozen to a temperature that will maintain the labile coagulation factors in a functional state.



An inherited condition that causes a build up of very large amounts of iron in the body.


The protein that carries oxygen around the body and gives blood its red colour.


Organised surveillance procedures related to serious adverse or unexpected events or reactions in donors or recipients, and the epidemiological follow up of donors.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that leads to the range of infections called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).



The liquid part of blood which contains all of the clotting, immune and other proteins.


Process of collecting plasma with an apheresis machine. As the blood is taken from the donor, the machine spins the blood to separate the plasma from the other blood components. The plasma is collected into a special collection bag and the remaining red cells, white cells and platelets are returned back to the donor.


Plateletpheresis is the process of collecting platelets with an apheresis machine. As blood is taken from the donor, the machine spins the blood in a small centrifuge bowl to separate the platelets from the other blood components. These are collected into a special collection bag and the remaining red cells, white cells and most of the plasma are then returned to the donor.


Small particles of cells present in blood which help the blood to clot.


Red blood cells

The blood cells that carry oxygen. Red cells contain haemoglobin and it is the haemoglobin which permits them to transport oxygen (and carbon dioxide).

Red Cell Component

A component obtained from a single whole blood donation by removal of part of the plasma, without further processing.


A blood group on red blood cells of some people, also called the Rhesus factor. If you do not have the Rh factor, you are Rh (D) negative.

Rh D immunoglobulin

Immunoglobulin specific for Rh D antigen is given routinely to Rh (D) negative mothers bearing Rh (D) positive infants to protect them from red cell exposure during pregnancy and delivery, and so prevent alloimmunisation.


Variant CJD (vCJD)

A new disease believed to be the human form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), a disease affected cattle.


Whole Blood

Single unprocessed blood donation.

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