Our Component Laboratory utilizes state-of-the-art technology to provide a full range of the highest quality blood components necessary to meet the transfusion needs of patients in the Texas Gulf Coast region. Our processes and transfusable components are validated and tested regularly according to regulations, and we continually seek to improve our services through the advancement of technology.
While testing is being completed, our technicians separate donated blood into components. Because of the density of the cells, centrifugation causes red blood cells to settle at the bottom of the collection bag. Technicians manually extract plasma and platelets into separate bags. White blood cells are then removed from the red blood cells through a filtration process called leukoreduction.
One unit of whole blood may be separated into various combinations of components including red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Platelets are combined in pools of five as a service to our customers. Various types of plasma are produced to meet the needs of our patients. A fourth component, cryoprecipitate, may be obtained through freezing and thawing plasma.
Apheresis collection procedures minimize the need for component processing, resulting in ready-to-use components. Apheresis components are stored in the lab until testing is completed.
After the blood is processed, tested and blood typed, it is labeled stored for distribution. The length of storage is dependent on the component and ranges, from five days (platelets) to one year (frozen plasma).
The Component Lab operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In 2011, our team of 40 professionals produced over 690,000 products.