What is platelet donation?

During platelet donation, a small portion of your blood (about 120 ml at a time), is drawn from your arm and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline back to your body. Platelet extraction, or collecting during donation, is also called 'platelet apheresis’.

What are platelets?

Platelets are tiny, colorless, disc-shaped particles circulating in the blood, and they are essential for normal blood clotting.

In which situation is platelet donation required?

Platelets are critically important for the survival of many patients with clotting problems (aplastic anemia, leukemia) or cancer, and patients who will undergo organ transplants or major surgeries like heart bypass grafts. Platelet dose from a single donor reduces the patient’s exposure to multiple donors and is therefore preferred by many physicians.

What is the blood group compatibility for platelet donation?

ABO and Rh(D) identical platelet transfusion is ideal. Platelets collected from Rh(D) positive donors should be avoided for Rh(D) negative, non-immunosuppressed recipients. The small number of contaminating red cells may be sufficient to cause Rhesus immunization. Transfusing platelets from group O donors to group A, B or AB recipients may result in haemolysis (from anti-A and anti-B in group O plasma). Also avoid incompatible plasma transfusion.

Should I be a Patelet Donor?

A single platelet donation can provide enough platelets for a full therapeutic dose for a patient in need. In fact, some platelet donations yield enough platelets for two or three therapeutic doses. By contrast, it takes four to six whole blood donations to produce a single therapeutic dose.

How often can I donate platelets?

Platelet donors can donate upto 24 times a year with a minimum interval of 7 days between donations.

How long does a platelet donation take?

A platelet donation takes upto 90 minutes. You will be asked to undergo a Donor Health Check (as with blood donation) first and encouraged to have a short rest and drink afterwards. You can expect the whole process to take up to 2 hours.

Is the donor eligibility criteria same for platelet and blood donation?

Eligibility criteria in terms of age and health are the same for blood and platelet donors, but for platelet donation there is a need to assess donor’s height and weight ratio to check blood volume. There is an additional medication rule: a donor cannot donate platelets if he/she has taken Aspirin, aspirin-containing medications (such as Disprin), piroxicam (Dolonex, Pirox), or any other Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (such as, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac) in the last 48 hours. This is because these drugs affect the potency and performance of the platelets and may result in bleeding during collection of blood components.

Is platelet donation safe?

Yes. Platelet donation is performed in a highly-controlled, sterile environment by professionally trained staff. All the platelet collection equipments are sterilized and equipment that is in contact with the donor's blood is used only once, eliminating the possibility of transmitting any microbial infection.

Can platelets be taken from whole blood donation?

Yes. Platelets can be taken from a whole blood donation but when you make a platelet donation using automated technology you donate 6 to 10 times the amount of platelets than can be obtained from a whole blood donation. A patient needing platelets will require that amount for one treatment. So, instead of six to ten blood donors, it takes just one platelet donor to provide a patient with one treatment of platelets.

Can I donate blood after donating platelets?

Yes. You can donate blood at least 72 hours after donating platelets. In an eight week period, you can make one blood donation and one platelet donation or six platelet donations. It is recommended for a platelet donor to join the platelet panel in order to help supply platelets to patients on frequent basis, rather than donating other components alternatively, so that patients' requirement(s) is managed and fulfilled accordingly and effectively.

Can plasma be collected during platelet donation?

Yes. Plasma can be collected simultaneously with a platelet donation. Plasma can be collected every 28 days, up to 13 times a year.

How long can the platelets be stored?

Platelets can be stored only for 5 days.

A donor must always seek advice from a blood donation personnel/health professional about any existing medical condition and/or any long-term medication prior to donation.