As part of the Laboratory Medicine Department, the Blood Bank unit gives patients (whether inside or outside the hospital) utmost donor care and recruitment.

Opening Hours

 The Blood Bank is located at the Ground Floor and its services are available 24/7, even during official holidays. Blood donors are received in the Blood Bank from 7:00 am till 7:00 pm. Emergency situations are also accommodated at all times.


 The Blood Bank has established goals that include providing high quality transfusion services, implementing appropriate management systems, and providing staff with continuous education.

These goals aim at assuring:

  • Awareness about blood donation
  • Proper donor care and recruitment
  • Blood components’ safety and adequacy
  • High quality transfusion services
  • Minimal transfusion-associated risks
  • Continuous supply of blood components by encouraging voluntary blood donations

 The Blood Bank staff provides the following services:

  • Collection and testing of donor blood
  • Preparation of blood components
  • Storage of blood components
  • Platelets Apheresis
  • Therapeutic Apheresis (Plasmapheresis, Leukapheresis and RBC exchange)
  • Therapeutic Phlebotomy
  • Pre-transfusion testing
  • Distribution of blood components
  • Massive transfusion
  • Emergency transfusion
  • Investigation of transfusion reactions
  • Blood safety
  • Documentation and quality control

All standards and procedures implemented at the Blood Bank comply with nationally and internationally accepted standards and regulations.

All Blood Bank activities and services are supervised by the unit director, who is a full-time physician and a specialist in Blood Bank and transfusion medicine.




The Blood Bank at ZHUMC is a hospital-based donor collection and transfusion center. It works within a blood replacement donor system.

The blood components are made available in the general inventory after a series of screening tests. The blood units are released and therapeutic apheresis is provided upon a written request from the physician. The technician will administer these procedures under direct supervision and guidance of the director.

The Blood Bank also offers transfusion services to patients of all ages and categories.

 Blood Donations

 Types of Donation

Blood components can be separated by a cell separator.

Whole Blood Donation

Whole blood donation is a type of donation that usually takes about an hour. Around 420mL of blood is collected during a single donation, excluding samples for laboratory tests.

  • Men can give blood up to 6 times a year; whereas women up to 4 times.
  • Donors must be between 18 and 65 years old. After the age of 60, first-time donors require the approval of a transfusion medicine physician.
  • After the age of 65, blood donations are not allowed, except with the approval of a physician (for rare groups).
  • Donors must wait at least 8 weeks in between donations.

Platelets Donation

 Platelets donation may take between 2 to 3 hours. The blood collected is separated into its various components with an apheresis machine. The platelets are gathered in a bag containing about 650 ml (≤ 13% of the donor’s total blood volume). Any other components are returned to the donor.

  • Donors may give platelets up to 24 times a year.
  • Donors must be between 18 and 65 years old. After the age of 60, first-time donors require the approval of a transfusion medicine physician.
  • Donors can donate every 48 hours, up to twice per week.
  • Donors can donate platelets between two whole blood donations.

Blood Components

 Blood is made up of red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells in a protein-rich liquid called the plasma. A maximum of four components can be derived from a single whole blood donation.

Today, whole blood is rarely transfused to the patient. Instead, it is only the specific blood component required for the patient’s condition that is transfused. This approach to treatment, referred to as blood component therapy, allows several patients to benefit from one unit of donated whole blood.

  • Packed Red Blood Cells: PRBCs are routinely used for patients with massive hemorrhages or diseases causing severe or chronic anemia. PRBCs in additive solution have a shelf life of 42 days and are stored at 2-6 °C.
  • Platelets: Platelets are given to patients who are incapable of producing a sufficient platelet count in the bone marrow due to the disease or treatment process. This occurs in patients with leukemia or bone marrow aplasia, and patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation. Platelets are stored at room temperature for around 5 days.
  • Fresh Frozen Plasma: After donations, plasma is frozen at -25°C and stored for one year. FFP is used in situations where multiple coagulation factors are deficient, such as in DIC and large volume bleeding.
  • Cryoprecipitate: Cryo is prepared from plasma and contains fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, factor VIII, factor XIII and fibronectin.Cryo is mostly used for replacement of fibrinogen in patients who are bleeding or at increased risk of bleeding. It may also be used to treat bleeding due to Hemophilia A, von Willebrand disease or factor XIII deficiency.

Who does the donation help?

On average, every 4 minutes, someone in Lebanon needs blood. At least half of the Lebanese population will either need blood or know someone who needs blood, at some point in their lives. That may be as a result of an accident or complications during surgery. By donating their blood, donors may help a woman who has bled during childbirth, a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy, or a patient suffering from blood diseases during their treatment.

Donating blood also allows donors to:

  • Know their blood type
  • Have systematic biological testing (Hb/ Ht count, serological testing…)

Who can donate blood?

 Donating blood is a responsible, voluntary, and unpaid act.

Blood donors:

  •  Must be in good shape overall
  • Must be at least 18 and no more than 65 years old. After the age of 60, donors need the approval of a transfusion medicine physician.
  • Must weigh at least 50 kg
  • Must not be at risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases
  • Must have a hemoglobin or hematocrit level of:
  • 5-18 g/dl (0.40%) for a man
  • 5-16 g/dl (0.38%) for a woman
  • Must have a systolic blood pressure of 100-140 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure of 60-90 mmHg
  • Must have a pulse rate of 60-100 bpm (beats per minute)
  • Must have a temperature below 37.6°C
  • Must have a platelet count of 150x109/L and above

Donors should not donate blood if:

  •  They have ever taken drugs
  • Their partner takes drugs
  • They are HIV positive
  • They have had sexual contact with members of the same sex
  • Their partner is HIV positive
  • They have more than one sexual partner

Blood transfusion safety rules are essential in preventing transmission of blood-borne HIV or other infections.

Donation Steps: What Donors Should Expect

Donating blood is a fairly straightforward process, but it is important to understand how it works. The entire blood donation process takes about an hour. The donation itself takes about 8 to 12 minutes.

Before making a donation, it is important that donors:

  • Drink lots of water, eat healthy meals, and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Have a salty snack and 500 mL of water (if they are hungry or thirsty at the time of their donation, they may be at a slightly increased risk of experiencing a donor transverse reaction).
  • Make sure to bring a valid ID


Donors will arrive at the Blood Bank to greetings from our staff that will perform a quick identification check, make a registration, and hand out educational material (pre-donation information).

Questionnaire, Interview and Physical Exam

Donors will complete the Donor Questionnaire, which is extremely private and confidential in order to protect all donors and recipients.  

After the questionnaire is filled out, a Blood Bank staff member will go it and ask some additional questions to confirm that it is safe to make the donation. They will take vital signs and do a 'finger prick' test to check for levels of hemoglobin.

Blood Donation

Donors will sit back and relax in a comfy chair throughout. They may read or chat with some team members. New, sterile needles are used for every donation and are safely disposed when finished with. The phlebotomist will take a blood sample to perform all the mandatory blood tests. Qualified personnel will perform the collection under sterile conditions. Donors will constantly be checked on in case they are feeling any sort of discomfort.

Platelets Donation

Patients suffering from leukemia, aplastic anemia or a bone marrow disease require special blood products, such as platelets or white blood cells. Donors help by donating platelets.

During a platelet donation, blood is separated through a process called apheresis, extracting the needed component only. As a result, the blood donation procedure would have to take approximately two hours.

Possible Side Effects

In some cases (during or after the donation), a malaise may occur. This is called vasovagal syncope and is usually caused by a drop in the blood pressure. Minor bruises or hematomas may occur too.

Refreshment and Post-Donation Care

Once the blood has been donated, the transfusion center staff at ZHUMC will be there to ensure donors are doing well. During recovery time, which is about 5 minutes, staff members will monitor in case of any adverse reactions to the donation. Then, donors will be taken to a refreshment area and offered food and beverages.

All activities may be resumed after donating blood, except for the ones that require lots of effort. The amount of blood collected is small compared to the total blood volume of an average-sized person. After donations, bodies will work to replace all the cells and fluids that have been lost. When donors leave the clinic, they are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids (all kinds excluding alcohol). Smoking and driving must be avoided for at least half an hour.

 What Happens to the Blood Donation?


Blood is processed and the blood component is prepared. Prior to processing into blood components, the white blood cells (also known as leukocytes) are filtered out to reduce the risk of a transfusion reaction.


The blood samples collected during the donation are sent to the testing laboratory to determine the donor’s blood type and screen for infections such as hepatitis B and C, syphilis and HIV. If a test returns positive, the blood unit is discarded and the donor is notified.


The blood product is released to the patient after the donor-recipient compatibility tests have been completed and the blood component has been documented safe and compatible.


Message From The Chair



Sara Salman, M.D.

Division Chair


Tel: +961-1-851040 Ext: 3039