Why are Platelet Donations important?
Platelets are a special blood component which aid in the clotting process. They act like bandages for the body and help prevent and stop bleeding.
Platelet donations benefit people with leukemia and other types of cancer, accident victims, and transplant recipients. These patients are often at serious risk because their blood does not clot properly. A platelet transfusion can reduce the risk of serious bleeding.
Unlike whole blood, platelets have a short shelf life – platelets must be used within seven days of a donation. Due to this short shelf life, platelet donations are always needed.
How Platelets Are Collected
Platelets are obtained from a donor by a process known as apheresis, or plateletpheresis. In this process, blood is drawn from the donor into an apheresis machine which separates the blood into its component parts, retains some of the platelets, and returns the remainder of the blood to the donor. Apheresis is the medical term for this procedure and simply means “take away”.
One platelet donation can provide as many platelets as 12 to 18 whole blood donations. This helps prevent patients with cancer and a weakened immune system from being exposed to several different donors. Plateletpheresis takes longer than a traditional whole blood donation, anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the donor.
The Golden Passport Platelet Rewards Program is Kentucky Blood Center’s way of thanking platelet donors and encouraging them to give often.
Find out more about the Golden Passport Platelet Reward Program.
Platelet donor requirements
- Donors must be at least 17 years of age
- Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds
- Donors may not have aspirin within 48 hours of a donation
- Donors must have an adequate blood iron level
- Donors must have an appointment to donate platelets
Donors may give platelets up to 24 times a year – about every 15 days.