Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding. When a blood
vessel, or skin, is damaged, platelets collect at the site of the
injury and temporarily repair the tear, through a process with
active plasma substance to form a clot.
Because not enough platelets can be captured from whole blood
donations a special procedure called Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) is
utilized. An apheresis donation allows a donor
to give specific
blood components, such as platelets. During the apheresis procedure,
all but the needed blood component is returned to the donor.
Different patients need different types of blood components,
depending on their illness or injury. After you donate whole blood
the unit is separated into red cells and plasma in our laboratory.
Whole blood can be stored for 42 days. Plasma can be frozen
for up to one year. Plasma is used to replace essential
proteins for clotting or replace volume in trauma cases.
Many lifesaving medical treatments require platelet transfusions.
Cancer patients, those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants,
victims of traumatic injuries, and patients undergoing open-heart
surgery require platelet transfusions in order to survive.
platelets can be stored for only five days, the need for platelet
donations is continuous.
Platelet transfusions are needed each year by thousands of patients
Heart Surgery Patient, 6 units
Burn Patient, 20 units
Organ Transplant Patient, 30 units
Bone Marrow Transplant Patient, 120 units
be a Plateletpheresis Donor?
If you meet the requirements for donating blood, you probably can
give platelets. Plateletpheresis donors must:
Yes. Each donation is closely supervised throughout the
procedure by trained staff. A small portion of your platelets
is collected so there is very little risk of bleeding problems as a
result of donation. Your body will replace donated platelets within
a few hours. The donation equipment (needles, tubing, collection
bags) are sterile and used only one time, making it impossible to
contract a disease from the process.
does the Procedure Work?
Blood is drawn from your arm through sterile tubing into a
centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood to separate the
components, which vary in weight and density. A port is opened along
the spinning tubing at the level containing platelets. These
platelets are drawn into a collection bag, while the remaining blood
components (red cells and plasma) are returned to you through your
Long does it Take?
Depending on your weight, height and Platelet count, the donation
procedure will take approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours. All
apheresis donations are collected while you sit in a
state-of-the-art "e-chair" where you may watch television, videos,
listen to music, surf the internet, or simply sit back and relax
while helping save a life.
How Can I Become a Plateletpheresis Donor?
Call the Central California Blood
(559) 389-LIFE (5433)
for more information or to make an appointment.