Platelet donors: Real life heroes at the New Jersey blood center.
All of the donors at our New Jersey blood center are important to us, especially platelet pheresis (fuh-REE-sis) donors. They donate blood as part of an automated procedure that extracts platelets during the blood draw and returns other components. The process is longer than a traditional blood-draw, and certainly requires a higher level of commitment to helping others—yet the procedure is less painful than you may think.
What is platelet pheresis?
Platelets are needed to treat patients with blood diseases, cancer and other illnesses, and as more common conditions can be treated with platelets, the need for these contributors grows. Diseases such as leukemia that were once 100% fatal are now being treated and often cured by a combination of modern medicine and repeated transfusions of platelets. A patient that needs platelets can receive an entire dose from a single platelet pheresis donor, which eliminates the need for multiple donors. Also, one platelet donation provides as many platelets as six to eight whole blood donations. Hospitals throughout the Central New Jersey region rely on our NJ Blood Centers to provide a regular supply of fresh platelets.
Platelet pheresis is a process used to extract platelets—tiny cells that help blood clot—from blood. Platelet donors must meet the same medical criteria as whole blood donors and must have a suitable venous access. Platelet donors can contribute more often because the body replaces platelets within 24 hours.
How is platelet pheresis done?
During a platelet donation, blood is drawn from one arm and passed through a cell separator carefully removing the platelets and returning the red cells and plasma to the donor through the other arm. Less than one unit of blood is out of the donor at any one time. Each donation is collected in a prepackaged, sterile and disposable kit. This is considered a closed system which means no blood comes in contact with the actual machine.
How long does it take?
The actual platelet procedure takes approximately one hour, but you should plan on being at our NJ blood center for two hours. This includes registration, medical history interview, mini physical and refreshments afterwards. Many donors choose to watch a movie from the extensive video library or enjoy the Internet at our NJ blood center.
What’s the blood donor eligibility for platelet pheresis?
Platelet donors must meet the same medical criteria as whole blood donors and must have a suitable vein in each arm. It is very important not to take aspirin or products containing aspirin for two days prior to giving blood as a platelet pheresis donor.
How often can I donate blood?
Platelet donations may be made every 15 days, up to 24 times a year. A platelet donor can donate blood more often than a whole blood donor because the body replaces platelets within 24 hours.
Are appointments at necessary?
Platelet procedures are scheduled by appointment to help specific patients who need specific components. It is very important to notify the blood donation center as soon as possible if you are unable to keep your appointment. That way, another donor may be scheduled to fill your appointment time. (While appointments are preferred, we may be able to accommodate donors on short notice.)
To find out more about platelet pheresis or get more information on blood donor eligibility, click here to contact our New Jersey blood center or call 732-842-5750.