Often, family members, friends and neighbors ask us how they can help. One way is to consider becoming a platelet donor at RPCI. If someone you know is interested in sharing the “gift of life” with our patients, please give them the following information, or have them contact the Plateletpheresis Center at RPCI.
The special blood collection process by which platelets are separated from whole blood so they may be donated for transfusion is called plateletpheresis. A donation of platelets can help patients recover from a BMT. Platelets, the smallest cell elements in the bloodstream, help stop bleeding. Certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or a BMT, stop the production of platelets and lower the patient’s platelet count. If platelets are not replaced, the patient is at risk of severe bleeding. Since platelet therapy may be required for a long period of time, platelet donations can help Roswell Park Cancer Institute maintain its platelet bank for patients.
A person is eligible to donate platelets if he or she:
A person is not eligible to donate platelets if he or she:
Dos & Don’ts Prior to Donation
Do not take aspirin or anything that contains aspirin for 72 hours before donating platelets.
What to Expect
Plateletpheresis is a blood donation process that allows an individual to give just one part of his/her blood – platelets – repeatedly. During the two-hour process, whole blood is drawn from one arm and processed in a special cell separator machine to remove the platelets. Then the red cells are returned to the same arm.
Blood never comes in contact with the pheresis machine. All materials used in the pheresis machine are sterile and disposable, and are discarded when the donation is completed. This prevents the transmission of diseases.
Because a closed sterile system is used, individuals are exposed only to their own blood. A person cannot get AIDS or other diseases by donating platelets.
Since the body produces more platelets than it needs, the volume donated has no adverse effect on donors. The side effects experienced by some whole blood donors are avoided. Within a few days of donating platelets, the body replenishes its platelet supply. We usually advise donating once every two weeks. Donors may donate as often as every 48 hours in an emergency situation upon approval of the medical director.
After platelet donation, an individual may resume daily activities, but should avoid heavy lifting for four hours.
Blood typing is done on every collected platelet product, along with all required serology tests listed here. The law requires that all platelet products collected be tested for blood and sexually transmitted diseases (HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, elevated liver enzymes, etc.) before they are transfused. Donors will be notified of any abnormal test results and asked to return to RPCI for further testing and evaluation, at no charge.
Platelet donors may be eligible to become members of the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. As members, donors are showing concern for the hundreds of people needing a BMT. Donors can receive membership information from the Donor Center staff.
HLA typing will be done free of charge after six donations of platelets.