Updated at: 21-11-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

What Happens When You Donate Platelets

Donating platelets using plateletpheresis is more effective than harvesting them from whole blood donations. Unlike plateletpheresis, which only requires a single donor, whole blood platelet treatment requires anywhere from six to eight donors. If there are fewer donors, the recipient is less likely to catch an illness.

Platelets play a crucial role in ensuring a normal circulatory system. When these blood cells are present, a clot forms that sticks to its target. Platelets are made in the bone marrow, with normal counts falling between 150,000 and 500,000.

Donated Platelets only last for 5 days, therefore we’re constantly in need of more. Platelet donation could be helpful for patients with cancer, thrombocytopenia, platelet malfunction, massive blood loss from an accident, or chronic conditions that reduce platelet count.

Why are platelets so important?

Platelets are tiny blood cells that clump together to stop blood from leaking out of the body. Tens of millions of Americans rely on them to survive cancer, chronic ailments, and devastating injuries. Every fifteen seconds, someone needs platelets. The platelet shelf life of five days means that daily donations from new donors are necessary. That’s exactly why we’re going to need you to help us out.

Four Steps Of Platelet Donation

How exactly do you give platelet donations? Donating platelets involves having your blood drawn and processed by a machine that returns only the platelets. But there are actually four steps involved in donating platelets. Read the essay from start to finish to get a complete understanding of the process described.

Step #1. Eat before going for donation

Donors should eat or snack on something salty and drink lots of fluids before giving blood. It is recommended that donors eat prior to giving platelets. After giving, you won’t feel faint or lightheaded because your blood sugar will be stabilized.

Consume more iron-rich foods like spinach, fish, chicken, and fruits and vegetables, and fewer oil-heavy meals. Get the dinner ready two to three hours before you plan to donate it. It’s also not a good idea to drink anything hot within 30 minutes before giving plasma.

Step #2. Criteria for donation

Donation centers do temperature checks once you arrive. The body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether or not a donor is healthy enough to receive their organs. An induvial needs to be at least 5 feet tall and 50 kilograms in weight to qualify.

When you arrive at the donation center, the staff will take your temperature. You must have a body mass index (BMI) below the donating threshold. An induvial must be at least 5 feet tall and weigh 50 kg or more.

Donation centers do temperature checks once you arrive. There will be body mass index checks to see if you qualify as a donor. An induvial needs to be at least 5 feet tall and 50 kilograms in weight to qualify.

Step #3. The procedure

When they get to the clinic, they’ll take a temperature. The body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether or not a donor is healthy enough to receive their organs. An induvial must meet weight and height criteria of 50 kilos (110 pounds) and 5 feet 3 inches (1.5 meters).

A centrifuging machine is connected to needles placed into veins in both arms. Platelet donation is completely painless. Inserting a needle, on the other hand, may cause some discomfort.

After inserting needles into veins in both arms, they are attached to a centrifuge. Blood platelet donation causes zero discomfort. In contrast, you might feel some pain when a needle is inserted.

This blood is spun several times for each donation. The extracted platelets will be stored in the sterile bag. Once the procedure is complete, the leftover blood components will be reintroduced using a second needle. Between two and three hours will be needed to complete a platelet donation.

One unit of platelets was equivalent to three units of whole blood. An individual’s platelet donation can be utilized to treat up to three patients simultaneously.

Step #4. After the donation

As soon as the process is over, the needles will be removed and the platelet bag will be sent to the blood bank. Make sure to reward yourself with a snack or meal after making a donation. At blood drives and clinics, volunteers often bring snacks and water bottles.

After donating, it is just as vital to eat as it is to eat before donating to avoid feeling weak or dizzy. Over the next twenty-four hours, make sure to drink a lot of water to keep yourself from getting too dehydrated.

Three Important Points For Platelet Donation

To avoid feeling weak or dizzy after giving, it is just as important to eat as it is to eat before donating. For the next twenty-four hours, make sure you keep yourself well hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Point #1. Blood types

There are just two blood types that can’t get platelets as a donor: O- and B-negative. People of blood type AB are the most common donors of platelets. Before your blood is given to individuals in need, it will be examined by doctors to ensure it is healthy to give.

Point #2. Diet

Calcium supplements should be taken on a regular basis if you give blood regularly. Inadequate calcium intake prevents iron absorption in the intestines. Eat more iron-rich meals like meat and vegetables. If you’re wondering “what to eat before blood donation?” you should read this post.

Point #3. The period between each donation

If your health permits, you can donate blood weekly for eight weeks. It is possible for a single person to give platelets thirty times per year. So, if you want to help out by making a donation, don’t indulge in vices like smoking or drinking. You should also check out “What to do before, during, and after a donation?”

What is it like to donate platelets?

Platelet donation is distinct from whole blood donation since platelets can be used in a variety of ways. So that you can:

  • Donating platelets to the American Red Cross is difficult because only some donation centers will accept them and even those that do require an appointment. Unfortunately, they cannot give blood at this time.
  • Blood is drawn from a donor, processed through a machine to isolate the platelets, and then returned to the donor.
  • Including all prep time and processing time, platelet donations typically take about three hours.
  • For a successful platelet donation, both arms must be used. Blood is drawn from one arm and the platelets are removed by a machine; the other arm receives the remaining blood components.
  • The amount of platelets provided by a single platelet donation is equivalent to that of up to five whole blood donations. It’s true that one blood donation can only offer enough blood for one person, while a platelet donation can provide blood for two or three persons.
    • Small amounts of blood drawn from the arm are processed in a device called a blood cell separator, which isolates the red and white blood cells.
    • When the blood is spun quickly, the platelets are separated from the rest of the blood.
    • The cells are then stored in a sterile, single-use plastic bag.
    • During this time, your blood’s plasma, RBCs (red blood cells), and ANCs (white blood cells) will be replenished.
    • Over and over, this pattern is reproduced. Frequently, numerous transfusable units can be obtained from a single platelet donation.

If I donate platelets, where do they go and who do they help?

  • Platelets are in constant demand in medical facilities.
  • After you donate platelets, they are immediately processed, tested, and packaged for transport to a hospital. Transfusions of platelets are typically performed within three days of donation.
  • More than two million platelet units are transfused every year in the United States.
    • Patients with cancer who receive platelets are able to keep fighting. In cancer patients, a low platelet count is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Since platelets help the blood to clot, cancer patients who don’t receive a platelet transfusion run the risk of hemorrhaging to death.
    • Platelets are useful in helping people recuperate from surgery or serious injuries. Platelet transfusions are sometimes necessary to restore platelet counts in patients who have undergone major surgery or been in a catastrophic accident. Platelets sustain them while they mend.
    • Platelets help patients with blood disorders and those who have received transplants by restoring vigor to their immune systems. Platelet transfusions are a huge help to these people since they allow them to keep working and feeling well for longer.
  • Platelets must be used within five days, thus there is always a need for new donors. That’s exactly why we’re going to need you to help us out.

How long does it take to donate platelets?

  • Including all prep time and processing time, platelet donations typically take about three hours. About 30 minutes are needed to complete the health history questionnaire and have the machine set up. Donating will take roughly two hours, after which you can visit the snack bar for a break.
  • This is due to the lengthy process required to isolate the platelets from the rest of the blood. During the process, your platelets will be removed from your blood and returned to you while other fluids are also replaced.
  • While giving, you can kick back and watch a movie or listen to some music. In just a few hours, you’ll have donated enough platelets to save the lives of three people.
  • Many platelet donors find that donating is a welcome release from the pressures of everyday life.

What are the benefits to donating platelets?

  • The satisfaction of knowing your efforts are helping people with cancer.
  • Depending on the donor’s capacity to provide a complete dose of platelets, as many as three patients could benefit from a single platelet donation. Many medical facilities and doctors recommend it for individuals who need platelet transfusions.
  • Some blood donors may find platelet giving more tolerable than whole blood donation because the needle used is smaller.
  • Donating platelets can help you get the fluids and red blood cells you need, which may make you feel more alert afterward.
  • Many platelet donors find that donating is a welcome release from the pressures of everyday life.

How safe is donating platelets?

  • Donating platelets is a risk-free procedure.
  • Donations of platelets take place in a strictly supervised environment, and are handled by skilled professionals.
  • At the end of each donation, a brand-new, sterile needle is thrown away.
  • Some people experience dizziness or fainting after giving platelets, while others get an upset stomach or a bruise at the injection site. On the other hand, the vast majority of people report feeling OK.

Does it hurt?

  • At least for the moment. Take hold of your arm at the fleshy underside. The pricking sensation caused by the needles in both arms will be about the same.
  • Some blood donors may find platelet giving more tolerable than whole blood donation because the needle used is smaller.
  • Some donors have cold feet when they receive their donated fluids. Blankets can be used to stay warm. In addition, some donors report feeling a tingling sensation. Calcium can quickly reduce this modest reaction from your body’s anticoagulant when the blood is returned. If this occurs, you will be given a calcium supplement, likely Tums®.

How often can I donate platelets?

  • It is possible to give platelets every seven days, up to a maximum of 24 times per year. By donating platelets at least 10 times annually, donors might make a significant impact.

Where should I start in preparing to give platelets?

  • Giving plasma blood requires an appointment. Appointments can be made over the phone (1-800-RED-CROSS), through the mobile app (available for free download from the App Store), or online.
  • Whether you’re on the go or at your desk, RapidPass® makes it easy to get the blood donation procedure started. It will save time if you can anticipate inquiries and fill out necessary documentation before making your initial appointment.
  • Be sure to bring your donor card or photo ID from the Red Cross, or use the Blood Donor App to look up your information in advance.
  • Don’t take any aspirin products in the two days leading up to your visit. Platelet donation can’t begin until Thursday if aspirin products are consumed on Monday.
  • Complete donations are best made over the course of three hours.
  • Get some rest the night before you donate.
  • Make sure you consume plenty of calcium-rich foods and drinks in the days leading up to the donation.
  • You are welcome to donate platelets whenever you’d like, seven days a week, for as many as 24 times a year.
  • Below, we’ve laid out all the details, including any limits on destinations or medications that may be needed to meet the requirements.

Who is eligible to donate platelets?

  • If you are between the ages of 16 and 17, and you are in good health and have the right weight and height, you may be able to donate platelets in your state.
  • Some states require parental consent, so please review our eligibility requirements. Further information about required vaccinations and medication limitations is also provided.
  • For blood donation, you’ll need a donor card from the Red Cross or another form of identification.
  • Don’t take any aspirin products in the two days leading up to your visit. Platelet donation can’t begin until Thursday if aspirin products are consumed on Monday.
  • A person must be in the same physical and mental health to give platelets as they would be to donate whole blood. Those who are eligible to donate whole blood may also be eligible to donate platelets.
  • Researchers have shown that antibodies present in women who have given birth in the past are more likely to produce complications for transfusion recipients of blood and platelets. Until these issues are better understood, the Red Cross will screen all female platelet donors for signs of pregnancy and test pregnant donors for these antibodies. Although there is no impact on the donor’s health, those who test positive for antibodies may be advised to give whole blood or Power Red instead.

What blood types should donate platelets?

  • Donations of platelets can be made by anyone with any blood type outside O and B negative. Donating whole blood or Power Red plasma from a person with blood type O- or B-negative can have a significant influence on the lives of individuals in need.
  • Those with blood type AB can do the most good by donating plasma. If you’d want to donate plasma instead of platelets, you can do so at certain American Red Cross Donation Centers. In comparison to giving blood or platelets, plasma donation allows you to help more people with less sacrifice.

Can I donate plasma at the same time as platelets?

  • If you have blood type AB and your local American Red Cross Donation Center does not now accept plasma-only donations, you can still help those in need by giving blood platelets. It’s feasible to donate both platelets and plasma at the same time.
  • Just 4% of Americans have blood type AB, making it one of the rarest blood types in the world.
  • Because people of all blood types can get plasma from donors of blood type AB, it is the universal plasma donor.

It’s A Wrap!

Donating platelets is always appreciated because they only last for five days and are a great help to those in need.

However, platelets should be transferred no later than three days after donation for best outcomes. Educating yourself on the platelet donation procedure is a smart move before making the donation. Doing this will help you relax and get in the right frame of mind for donating platelets. Another question to ponder is “How long does it take to recover from a double red cell donation?”