Blood transfusion: between the past and the present

Blood transfusion is the oldest form of transplant through which blood is taken from a compatible donor and introduced through specific methods to a recipient. Transfusion is made to heal certain conditions or to prevent major loss of blood from the body in case of an accident, which can lead to death.


Background


In ancient times, blood that was used for transfusions was of an animal origin. The first documented blood transfusion on a man was performed with sheep’s blood, in 1667, by Jean Baptiste Denis, the personal doctor of Louis XIV, but its effect was tragic for the patient. Following this unsuccessful attempt and numerous researches, medicine concluded that man can only receive blood from another man by donation. 


In 1900, Austrian doctor Karl Landsteiner discovered 3 of the 4 blood types from A0B group, and two years later discovered the fourth - AB. After this discovery, taking into account the compatibility of blood types, number of post-transfusion accidents was considerably reduced.


In present day, the practice of donating blood is sustained and encouraged worldwide. In many countries there are special blood collecting and preservation centres, where people can go and donate blood for those in need. Donating blood for therapeutic purposes is a voluntarily, anonymous practice and it is without remuneration.


Statistical data


According to statistical data, European countries register annually more than 20 million blood donations, and in Moldova, every year; more than 56 thousand people donate blood voluntarily. Specialists mention that blood donated by a person can save up to 3 lives.


In 2005, the World Health Organization decided to dedicate a special day for blood donors, as a sign of gratitude and as a call to support voluntary blood donation. Thus, June 14 became World Blood Donor Day.