Did You Know? - Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Did You Know?

Giving Blood

Giving blood makes it possible for many people to lead normal healthy lives.  Every year thousands of patients require blood transfusions in our hospitals, because they are undergoing surgery, recovering from cancer or have been in a serious accident. 

  • Only 3% of the eligible Irish population give blood, providing blood for a population of over 4 million
  • 3,000 blood donors are needed each week in Ireland
  • Blood is required every day of the year

 

What blood is used for

  • One in four people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives
  • Over 1,000 Irish people receive transfusions every week in Ireland
  • Approximately 70,000 patients will have transfusions in Irish hospitals this year
  • The IBTS supplies hospitals in the Republic of Ireland with blood and blood products 365 days a year
  • Blood is required for much of the services our health system provides. For example, a car accident victim may require up to 30 units of blood, a bleeding ulcer could require anything between 3-30 units of blood, or a coronary artery bypass may use between 1-5 units of blood
  • A typical unit of blood lasts for just 35 days, but in some cases such as blood used for very young children; this blood must be used within 5 days of it's collection.

 

Information about your blood

  • An average adult has between 10 and 12 pints of blood
  • 7% of a person's body weight is made up of blood
  • Human blood travels 60,000 miles per day on its journey through the arteries, arterioles and capillaries and back through the venules and veins
  • Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body
  • Blood carries carbon dioxide and other waste products back to the lungs, kidneys and liver for disposal
  • There are about 1 billion red cells in two to three drops of blood

 

Blood Group Distribution Facts

  • The most common blood group in Ireland is O positive (47% of the population)
  • The rarest blood group in Ireland is AB negative (1% of the population)
  • The most common blood group is O, accounting for about 46% of the world's population. However, in some areas other blood groups predominate, in Norway for example, type A is the most prevalent
  • People in the West of Ireland are predominantly of blood group O
  • There is a higher concentration of Group A blood in counties which historically received Viking, Anglo Norman and English population settlements
  • There are more people with Rhesus negative blood on the East coast than the West
  • Read about Blood Groups here