Camp Lejeune Community
The New Normal
The Blood Donor Center at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (NMCCL), a part of the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP), has been conducting Low Titer O Whole Blood (LTOWB) pre-deployment blood drives to assist battalions, regiments and special operations with walking blood bank rosters. When these drives were initially implemented, they were few and far between, but in recent years, they have become the new normal.
These pre-deployment drives are unique in the sense that they are designed to collect only type O blood, focusing on O-positive usually, not LTOWB specifically. Once the blood is collected, an additional test is performed to identify which donor is low titer. Those identified as such are put on a roster for a battalion or regimental surgeon. This roster helps assist service members with their walking blood bank once in theater. It is a very important tool to help ensure that lives are saved on the battlefield.
Theater isn’t the only place that LTOWB is being used, as the NMCCL has recently started keeping it on the transfusion shelves for trauma patients. This has also been instrumental in saving lives. Surgeons at the NMCCL are now requesting that more LTOWB be available for usage at the facility’s trauma center.
So, what is low titer whole blood and why use it? The term “low titer” speaks to the lowest’ levels of antibodies in one’s blood, and therefore the lowest probability of causing a reaction, making LTOWB optimal for blood transfusions. Type O blood is used, as it is universal and can be transfused into patients with an unknown blood type. All blood is vital to the mission of saving lives, but the focus on type O is to help ensure quotas are met to send to those in combat, as well as availability for patients at the NMCCL.
With this additional mission at the NMCCL, Camp Lejeune looks to type O donors to give as often as they can. Marine Lance Cpl. Javier Aviles is a dedicated blood donor who knows how important his donation is and what it means to his brothers and sisters in arms overseas.
“Low titer blood is very important, especially in a combat zone. Receiving low titer blood helps reduce the risk of an adverse reaction and helps give someone a better chance at survival,” Aviles said.
As donors start to understand the importance of LTOWB or overseas missions and at home, they are rolling up their sleeves to help ensure this product is available and that the ASBP meets its weekly mission. Continues Aviles: “The ASBP is an amazing program at military installations where there are no military collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need they maximize availability of this national treasure.”
To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit https://health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Combat-Support/Armed-Services-Blood-Program. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow@militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest and @usmilitaryblood on Instagram.