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  Blood Donor Center

Platelet Donation

Six Reasons to Donate Platelets

1. Platelets are a lifeline for many, especially cancer and leukemia patients.
2. Platelet donation gives in a way that no amount of money could.
3. For each donation you give, you help up to two patients.
4. Little volume is lost during platelet donation, so you can resume normal activity after donating.
5. Your body replaces donated platelets quickly, allowing you to donate as frequently as once a month.
6. Platelet donation is a minor time commitment for a truly great impact.


What are platelets?

Platelets are small cells in the blood that help control bleeding. They plug small holes in blood vessels and assist in the clotting process.

How does your donation help?

Platelets control bleeding. Patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments are unable to produce the platelets they need to survive. Without these platelets, patients could bruise severely or bleed internally.

How do I donate platelets?

Blood is made up of several components including red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets. When you give whole blood, you give all of these components at once. Through a specialized donation process called apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis), healthy adults can give a single component of their blood, such as platelets.

Why should I become a platelet donor?

Every day, patients at AAMC need platelet transfusions to support them through treatments for cancer, leukemia, aplastic anemia, traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions. With one apheresis donation, you can safely give up to 12 times the number of platelets typically contained in a whole blood donation! Because platelets can only be stored for five days, many platelet donations are needed every day to ensure a full supply of this lifesaving resource. And your body immediately starts to replenish the components you've donated.

What is involved in a platelet donation?

During an apheresis donation, blood is drawn from your arm into a machine that automatically separates the components of your blood. Platelets are diverted to the collection bag and your remaining blood components are returned to you. The component separation within the machine takes place in a sterile, disposable chamber used only for your collection.

Is the procedure safe?

Yes. Trained staff, along with a computerized cell separator, monitors each donation. Your body replaces the donated platelets within 72 hours. As with all donation procedures, new sterile needles, tubing and collection kits are used for each donor. Your blood does not come into contact with the cell separator itself.

Does it hurt?

As with whole blood donation, most donors feel only a slight pinch when the needle is placed in the arm.

How long does it take?

The platelet donation procedure takes approximately two hours. Because of the amount of time involved, it is important to schedule donation appointments in advance. Appointments ensure that staff and equipment are available when a donor arrives. If you need to cancel your appointment, please give us notice 48 hours ahead of time because we must ensure that our patients have platelets available.

Who can donate platelets?

Platelet donors must be between the ages of 17 and 65, weight at least 110 pounds and be in good general health. Additionally, platelet donors must not take aspirin, or products that contain aspirin, for 36 hours prior to donating.

How can I become a platelet donor?

To make an appointment or for more information about donating platelets, call the AAMC Blood Donor Center at 443-481-4215.

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