Platelet donors are important in providing a lifeline to those who need it most.
Did you know that while platelets can be separated out of whole blood, it takes approximately six units of whole blood to provide a single platelet transfusion? One platelet donation however, provides enough platelets for one or more platelet transfusions.
Platelets are cells found in your blood that are essential for clotting. When blood vessels are damaged, platelets collect at the site to temporarily repair the area.
Thousands of patients with life-threatening illnesses such as leukemia, anemia, cancer, and other diseases of the blood are in need of lifesaving platelet transfusions. Because of bone marrow malfunction or chemotherapy treatment, their bodies are unable to produce platelets. Although platelets do not cure disease, they provide time for treatments to work, a cure to be found, and the time necessary for patients to begin to produce their own platelets again.
Donate platelets. Platelets must be transfused within five days of collection, therefore, there is a constant need for platelet donors. Regular donors help ensure platelets are always there when they are needed. Platelets can be donated up to 24 times per year.
If you meet the criteria to donate whole blood
it is likely that you can donate platelets, however, two additional restrictions apply. The first is that platelet donors cannot take aspirin for 72-hours prior to donation. The second is that platelet donors may not take ibuprofen (i.e., Motrin®, Advil®) for 24-hours prior to donation.
During platelet donation, the donor’s blood is processed through an apheresis machine. Blood is withdrawn from one arm, the platelets are extracted from the blood, and then all remaining blood components (red and white blood cells and plasma) are returned through the donor’s arm. The donation process takes approximately two hours. Relax, watch TV, read, or listen to music while you donate – it’s the perfect time to unwind!