“Blood Bank” can have three main meanings. First, it most commonly refers to a section of a hospital laboratory responsible for the storage and issue of blood products. Blood banks perform many other tasks as well, including pretransfusion analysis of potential recipients to screen for blood type, Rh type, and the presence of antibodies against red cell antigens. Many blood banks are involved in preparation of more advanced components for infusion, such as progenitor (stem) cells harvested from peripheral blood or from bone marrow. U.S. Blood Banks are tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
, and are commonly accredited by the AABB
and/or the College of American Pathologists (CAP)
The term is also used to refer to blood collection organizations that operate more on the supply side of the transfusion process (i.e., they collect blood from community blood donors, prepare it for transfusion, and supply it to hospital blood banks, who then perform the above functions).
Finally, the term can be used in reference to the medical practice surrounding blood collection and transfusion, sometimes interchangeably with the more formal sounding, “Transfusion Medicine.”