v4n1 - Giving Platelets

CURE, Spring 2005, Volume 4, Issue 1

Platelets are essential clotting agents that become important for cancer patients with blood cancers and those undergoing various types of chemotherapy.

A normal whole blood donation contains few platelets, but with platelet donation, known as apheresis, four to six times as many platelets can be collected. The process involves the withdrawal of blood from the arm into a machine that separates the platelets from the other blood components, which are then returned to the donor. Once donated, the platelets must be transfused within five days.

The actual donation time takes about 90 minutes, and donations can be made twice within a seven-day period as long as there is a 48-hour break between donations.

It is recommended that donors eat a regular meal and drink plenty of fluids one to two hours before donating platelets. In addition, donors should not take blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin or aspirin-containing products, for at least 72 hours before donation