October is National Liver Awareness Month and the American Red Cross reminds eligible blood donors that organ transplant patients often rely on donated blood. Liver transplant patients may need 30 or more different blood products during surgery. In fact, two liver transplant patients at a hospital served by the Red Cross were recently treated with a combined total of 40 pints of red blood cells and 30 pints of plasma.
Liver transplants are the second most common transplant in the United States, following kidney transplants. According to the American Liver Foundation, more than 6,000 liver transplants are performed each year in the U.S.
All blood types are currently needed, especially O negative, B negative and A negative. Type O negative, the universal blood type, can potentially be transfused to patients with any blood type.
There are a variety of ways to help protect your liver from disease. The American Liver Foundation offers these simple tips: Eat a healthy diet low in fatty foods, limit alcohol intake, manage medications appropriately and limit contact with toxins. For more information, visit liverfoundation.org.
How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.