Glossary of Terms
Amotosalen: A light-activated, DNA and RNA-crosslinking psoralen compound, which is used to neutralize pathogens.
Antibody: A protein that is made by certain white blood cells (lymphocytes), in the body, in response to the invasion of a foreign substance.
Anticoagulant: A substance added to the blood that inhibits clotting.
Apheresis: The process of removing a specific component from blood from an individual donor and returning the remaining components to the donor , in order to collect more of one particular part of the blood than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. Also called hemapheresis or pheresis.
B Lymphocyte: A lymphocyte that is involved in the production of antibodies.
Bacteria: One celled organisms, spherical, spiral, or rod shaped and appearing singly, in chains, or in clusters.
Blood: The fluid that circulates in the principal vascular system of human being and other vertebrates: in humans consisting of plasma in which the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are suspended.
Blood Bank: A place where blood is collected from donors, typed, separated into components, stored, and prepared for transfusion to recipients.
Blood Components: Products separated from whole blood (i.e. red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma.)
Blood Transfusion: The transfer of blood or blood components from one person (the donor) into the bloodstream of another person (the recipient). This may be done as a lifesaving maneuver to replace blood cells or blood products lost through bleeding. Transfusion of your own blood (autologous) is the safest method but requires advance planning and not all patients are eligible. Directed donor blood allows the patient to receive blood from known donors. Volunteer donor blood is usually most readily available and, when properly tested has a low incidence of adverse events. Blood conserving techniques are an important aspect of limiting transfusion requirements.
Chickungunya Virus: An alphavirus that is spread by mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes causing debilitating joint pain and lethal in immune compromised patients.
Haemovigilance: A set of organized surveillance procedures relating to serious adverse or unexpected events or reactions in blood donors or recipients and the epidemiological follow-up of donors.
Hemoglobin: The oxygen carrying protein of red blood cells that gives them their red color and serves to carry oxygen to the tissues.
Leukocyte: A white blood cell.
Lymphocyte: A type of white blood cell having a spherical nucleus surrounded by a thin layer of nongranular cytoplasm.
Nucleic Acid: A nucleic acid is a macromolecule composed of nucleotide chains. In biochemistry these molecules carry genetic information or form structures within cells. The most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). Nucleic acids are universal in living things, as they are found in all cells. They are also found in viruses.
Pathogen: An infectious agent or biological agent that causes disease or illness to its host.
Pathogen Inactivation: A process designed to eliminate most pathogens -- viruses, bacteria and fungi -- from water, air or donated blood.
Plasma: The liquid part of the blood and lymphatic fluid, which makes up about half of its volume. Plasma is devoid of cells and, unlike serum, has not clotted. Blood plasma contains antibodies and other proteins. It is taken from donors and made into medications for a variety of blood-related conditions. Some blood plasma is also used in non-medical products.
Platelets: Any of numerous, minute disk-shaped, protoplasmic structures in blood, chiefly known for their role in blood coagulation.
Psoralen: Any of a number of drugs and other substances containing chemicals that react with ultraviolet (UV) light.
Pooled Platelets: A platelet transfusion that is prepared by combining multiple platelet products from several donors to produce a therapeutic dose for transfusion.
Red Blood Cells: One of the cells of the blood, which, in mammals, are non nucleated disks concave on both sides, containing hemoglobin and carrying oxygen to the cells and tissues and carbon dioxide back to the respiratory organs.
Transfusion Reaction: A group of symptoms that may appear after a transfusion of blood products. Symptoms may be mild to severe and may include side effects such as: chills, fever, rash and, in severe cases, organ failure and death.
Virus: A microorganism smaller than a bacteria, which cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. A virus invades living cells and uses their chemical machinery to keep itself alive and to replicate itself. It may reproduce with fidelity or with errors (mutations) - this ability to mutate is responsible for the ability of some viruses to change slightly in each infected person, making treatment more difficult.
White Blood Cells: Any of various nearly colorless cells of the immune system that circulate mainly in the blood and lymph systems.