The Policlinico Agostino Gemelli’s Blood Transfusion Service is a facility that, as required by the current Legislation, deals with transfusions and supports medical departments, through specialized diagnostic and therapeutic activities, in treating patients with hematological, cancer, neurological, internal and surgical illnesses.
Since June 2004 the Service moved to the new facilities of the Piastra Tecnologica (Technological Building) including a large furnished room for patients’ maximum comfort, routine and research laboratories and an automated cryobiological room.
The Service is managed by Head Prof. Gina Zini, Medical Manager responsible for the Complex Organizational Structure.
The activities of the Blood Transfusion Service are:
- Donation, production, storage and distribution of blood components
- Transfusion medicine
- Approval of blood components and transfusion safety
- Gathering and storage of hematopoietic stem cells
- Gathering and storage of cord blood (Unicatt Cord Blood Bank)
- Immunohematology (Blood Banking) Laboratory
- Therapeutic apheresis
The activities are regulated by operational procedures, internal and company (medical use of plasma, gathering of stem cells from peripheral blood, leukapheresis therapy, extremely urgent transfusions, etc.)
Support and Consulting
The Committee for the Proper Use of Blood, in collaboration with the Healthcare Management, regularly meets and is committed to enhance the medical use of blood components and transfusional safety.
The consulting activity for patients allows to prevent and resolve problems concerning transfusions and to reduce the connected risks to a minimum.
The Service is open 24 hours, with a doctor and a technician for immunohematology (blood banking) and emergency transfusions.
The continuous medical, nursing and technical on-call service allow to respond even to needs regarding therapeutic apheresis for myasthenic crisis, urgent leukapheresis therapy for severe leukosis, urgent plasma exchange, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and urgent transfusions during a liver transplant.
Where are we
The Blood Transfusion Service is on the 1st floor, wing J, at the Nuova Piastra Tecnologica (The New Technological Building).
Office telephone: 06 3051.757
The times to donate are:
- Monday to Saturday: from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
- during public holidays: from 8:00 am to 11:00 am
Blood: What is it?
Blood is a fluid tissue that represents about 5-7% of our body volume and about 45% of its volume is made up of cells (red blood cells or erythrocytes or packed red blood cells, white blood cells or leukocytes and platelets or thrombocytes) and about 55% of its volume is made up of plasma (water, albumin, blood clotting factors, antibodies, lipids, sugars, hormones and mineral salts).
Blood cannot be created in a laboratory and, to date, donating is the only possibility for transfusion therapy. The most common type of donation is that of whole blood withdrawn using plastic bags containing an anti-clotting – preservation liquid.
The withdrawal of whole blood, 450 ml, is carried out by a disposable and sterile closed circuit system, absolutely harmless for the donor, and lasts about 5-8 minutes. In addition to this type of donation, it is possible to use an apheresis procedure, thanks to which one or more blood components are withdrawn and separated during the withdrawal (erythrocytes, platelets, plasma).
In fact, the apheresis procedure consists in making the blood circulate in a specific tube that is sterile and disposable, of a cellular separator, breaking it down and keeping the necessary blood component and returning the remaining components to the donor. The procedure is harmless to the donor and it lasts about 35 to 90 minutes.
Other types of blood component donations are plasmapheresis (only plasma) or plateletpheresis (only platelets), erythro-plasmapheresis (donation of plasma and red blood cells), erythro-plateletpheresis (donation of platelets and red blood cells), plasma-plateletpheresis (donation of plasma and platelets) and a platelet donation drawn in two bags.
Artificial blood does not exist. Red blood cells and platelets cannot be created in a laboratory.
Only voluntary and free donation makes transfusion therapy possible, which in many cases is a life-saving therapy. In fact, the use of donated blood is necessary for:
- Patients, often children, with blood diseases and tumors;
- Patients in critical conditions: multiple trauma and accidents;
- Patients who must undergo surgeries or organ transplants.
The Policlinico patients, every year, receive transfusions of over 15,000 units of red blood cells, over 2,500 units of platelets and over 4,000 plasma units. Unfortunately, about 50% of the red blood cell units does not come from donations done at our Blood Transfusion Service, but from other transfusion centers, even from other regions.
Who Can Donate
- All people between the ages of 18 and 65, in good health and not weighing less than 50 kilograms
- Men can donate up to four times a year, while women cannot more than twice a year, being more vulnerable to the lack of iron.
Who cannot donate
The following cannot donate:
- who has had (or has) viral hepatitis, syphilis and HIV infection
- who has a heart disease
- who has a tumor
- who has epileptic seizures
Who has at least one of the following conditions cannot temporarily donate:
- pregnant and until 6 months after giving birth
- transfusions (within 4 months)
- recent trip to a malaria infected area
- infectious illnesses, influenza, pharyngitis or recent/ongoing allergies
- surgery (from 1 week to 4 months)
- endoscopic tests (within 4 months)
- tattoos, acupuncture, ear piercing (within 4 months)
- dental therapy (depends on the type)
- recent vaccinations (depends on the type)
- casual sex with different people
- use of some types of medication
The doctors in the Donating Area, during the meeting, are available to clarify any doubts.
For any type of information call the following number 06 3051.757
Useful information for donors
- A valid identification document and fiscal code card is necessary in order to donate;
- Coffee, tea, freshly squeezed or fruit juice and dry cookies can be eaten before donating;
- It’s best to avoid milk and foods rich in fats;
- For employed workers, blood and apheresis donors, exemption from work is guaranteed, for the entire day that the donation is done and giving the certificate provided by the Blood Transfusion Service to your employer is sufficient;
- The donation is carried out in a large room furnished with ten comfortable armchairs, for both whole blood withdrawal and for blood component apheresis;
- Breakfast is served in the restaurant area at the end of the donation;
- Blood donors can park their cars for free on the day of donation, at Parking Lot P5, located in front of the external entrance of the Donation area.
To see how to reach us click here.
The informational report on blood donation is available at the following link.
Blood Donor Association: Why Join?
Regular blood donation, as a member of the Associazione Gruppo Donatori Sangue “Francesco Olgiati” Onlus (The “Francesco Olgiati” Non- Profit Blood Donor Association), not only represents a precious resource for patients, but it also offers the opportunity to take care of your own health.
Essential exams for the use of the donated units (blood cell count, hepatitis B and C virus research, HIV, test for syphilis, blood type and irregular antibody research) are carried out during the occasional donations. Frequent donors undergo, on a yearly basis, more complete blood work: a full-fledged check-up that includes even an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG). The doctors at the Donor Center, if necessary, refer the donors to take more specific tests and to visit more qualified specialists.
After becoming a member, a donor card that indicates your blood type and the donations carried out will be provided.
To become a member of the l’Associazione “Francesco Olgiati” fill out the application form