Updated at: 26-08-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

How long do platelet donations typically take? A platelet donation could take as little as 30 minutes or as long as three hours. But before we go any farther, let’s review the basics of drawing blood and collecting plasma and platelets.

Apheresis treats three different blood components: platelets, RBCs, and plasma.

Through the process of apheresis, a machine is attached to the patient and draws blood to be separated into the various components listed above. When you donate blood, you may rest assured that you and anybody else involved won’t catch a virus from the sterile tubing kit used to transport your blood. However, as most people only need one type of blood component, this article will concentrate on how long it takes to give platelets. To that end, we sincerely hope that this post moves you to help those in need.

What are Platelets?

It is the job of platelets, a type of blood cell, to help keep blood from clotting too much. Platelets are recruited to the site of a blood vessel tear in order to aid in its repair. Plasma-forming chemicals are activated by platelets, and the wound begins to heal.

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Why is there always a need for platelets?

When storing platelets, keep them at room temperature for 5-7 days. Frozen plasma may be stored for up to a year, and frozen red cells can be stored for 42 days. Because of this, platelet donations are continually in demand. It is imperative that we collect new platelets on a regular basis in order to keep up with the demand of our patients. Because of this, platelets can be given up to 24 times a year, or seven times a week on average.

Learning What Plasmapheresis Is

Platelets can be stored for 5-7 days at room temperature. Red blood cells can be preserved in the freezer for 42 days and plasma for up to a year. Consequently, the need for platelet donors is constant. In order to meet the needs of our patients, it is essential that we continually collect new platelets. This allows for an annual maximum of 24 platelet donations, or an average of 7 donations each week.

How Many Hours A Platelet Donation Take Up

I was wondering how long a platelet donation would take. The entire platelet donation process typically takes around three hours. You should set aside 30 minutes to fill out the health history form and prepare your machine. After making a financial contribution, you can take advantage of the two hours of free time in the refreshment room.

Time is needed to collect platelets once they have been separated from the rest of the blood. After being filtered to eliminate platelets and other unwanted substances, your blood is then returned to you. While the plasma collectors are taking your blood, you can kick back and enjoy some entertainment. You can save up to three lives with the platelets you give today. You would think it requires a lot of time, but the reality is more nuanced.

Donating platelets is a great method for blood donors to relax while also saving lives. However, platelets isolated from whole blood or through Apheresis have a shelf life of only five days. Whole blood red cells can be refrigerated for up to 42 days. However, further information about the blood donation program is available here. The FAQs section will follow.

Frequently Asked Questions About Platelet Donation

Definition of Plasmapheresis What is the time frame? Let’s go over the most often asked questions concerning platelet donation now that we know the answers. Keep reading to find out more!

#1. What is the role of platelets?

Platelets are blood cells that help stop bleeding by clumping together to create clots. Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer, have a chronic illness, or have suffered a catastrophic injury depend on them for treatment and survival. A platelet transfusion is required every fifteen seconds. After that, unfortunately, additional donors will be required daily until your platelets expire.

It’s for this reason that platelet donations are so vitally important. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to become a volunteer, learning about the importance of blood donation is a fantastic place to start.

#2. How can we benefit from donating our platelet?

It’s a good feeling to know that your efforts are helping those who have cancer. Platelets can be used by up to three different people from a single donation. The use of platelet transfusions for people who need them has gained widespread support among medical professionals and healthcare facilities. Platelet donation is preferred by some blood donors over whole blood donation for a variety of reasons.

Some donors report feeling less fatigued after donating platelets because they receive fluids and red blood cells in exchange. Donors of blood and platelets typically experience a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from their acts, knowing that they have helped save another person’s life.

#3. Is there any discomfort?

Until further notice, at least. Pinch the soft underneath of your arm to reveal the muscle structure and tendons inside. You will feel a slight prick as the needle is put into each of your arms. Platelet donation is often preferred over whole blood donation because the needle is smaller and the process is less excruciating for the donor.

In some cases, returning fluids to a donor can cause them to feel cold. Please make use of the blankets provided. Some donors report feeling a tingling sensation as well. Calcium has been shown to rapidly decrease this sensitivity to the anticoagulant employed when blood is returned to the body.

If you exhibit any of these signs, your doctor will likely recommend that you take a calcium supplement. But don’t fear; medical help is on the way! As we draw to a close, the topic “What is apheresis donation?” may be of some interest to you.


Why do patients need platelets?

Platelets are essential for optimal blood clotting. Hospitals need a daily supply of platelets since they can no longer be used after five days.

Platelet-rich plasma is commonly used as a treatment for patients (PRP).

  • Those who have been given a cancer diagnosis
  • Those who have been hurt
  • Blood disorders cause,
  • Bone marrow transplant recipients

What’s it like to donate platelets?

How a platelet donation makes you feel is the same as how a complete blood donation makes you feel. Small amounts of blood are drawn from your arm using new, sterile needles. The platelets in the blood are separated from the rest of the blood by spinning the blood in a centrifuge. While the remainder of your blood is returned to your body, platelets are removed and placed in a collection bag. In order to create platelets, this procedure must be repeated many times.

Donating platelets requires avoiding aspirin or anything containing aspirin for 48 hours beforehand.

Can’t you take platelets from my whole blood donation?

Yes. Donations of whole blood can be used to collect platelets, however platelet donations made with the help of automated equipment can yield six to ten times as many platelets as whole blood donations. The quantity of platelets required for a single treatment of a patient who needs them. When compared to the six or ten blood donors often required to treat a single patient, only one platelet donor is required.

How long does it take to donate platelets?

If you want to include time for registration and refreshments, plan on spending at least two hours on the task.

Is it safe to donate platelets?

There is never a time during the platelet collection process where your blood comes into touch with the equipment used to collect your contribution. Your platelets will be collected using only brand-new, sterilized equipment. After each use, the entire set of disposable equipment is discarded.

You can donate platelets along with plasma.

Your platelet donation will also be used to collect plasma. Proteins such as albumin, gamma globulin, anti-hemophilic factor, and other blood clotting factors make up around 7% of plasma, with salts of minerals and carbohydrates, lipids, and hormones making up the remaining 1%. Plasma is crucial for maintaining steady blood pressure and assisting in clotting. This makes it an important component in the management of burns, shock, and bleed disorders. patients.

Platelet Donation Procedure Hospital in Mumbai, India – Kokilaben Hospital

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

  • Platelets are in continual demand in medical facilities.
  • When you donate platelets, they are immediately tested and packaged for transport to a hospital. Platelets are usually transfused no later than three days after donation.
  • Every year in the United States, over 2 million platelets are donated and transfused.
    • Cancer patients who lack the strength and vitality to fight their disease often rely on platelets for support. A low platelet count is a common adverse consequence of cancer treatment. Patients with cancer who have not received a platelet transfusion are at risk for life-threatening bleeding because platelets aid in blood clotting.
    • Platelets can help individuals recuperate from surgeries and injuries. Platelet transfusions are sometimes necessary to replace platelets lost to bleeding in patients who have undergone major surgery or incurred substantial injuries in a serious accident. Platelets are essential to patients’ survival during the healing process.
    • Platelets are essential for patients with blood disorders or who have undergone a transplant. Platelet transfusions are quite helpful for these people since they allow them to keep working and staying healthy for much longer.
  • Platelets must be used within five days, thus there is always a need for new donors. This is why we require your assistance.

How long does it take to donate platelets?

  • A typical platelet donation session lasts about three hours. It will take about 30 minutes for the technician to set up the machine and go through the health history questionnaire with you. The next step is to give generously for around two hours, with a break for refreshments in between.
  • Time is needed to collect and sort the various blood components. Fluids, including blood, are drawn from you and replaced during the process.
  • When making a contribution, feel free to kick back with some music or a movie. In just a few hours, you will have donated enough platelets to save the lives of up to three people.
  • Many donors find that donating their platelets is a relaxing way to help others while also relieving some of the stress of their own lives.

What are the benefits to donating platelets?

  • Knowing that your efforts are helping those who are battling cancer is incredibly satisfying.
  • Donated platelets can provide a patient with an adequate amount for one treatment. When patients require a platelet transfusion, this is the procedure of choice for many medical facilities.
  • Some blood donors prefer giving plasma since the needle used for platelet donations is smaller than the one used for whole blood donations.
  • Because they get their fluids and red blood cells back, some platelet donors say they feel less tired after donating.
  • Many donors find that donating their platelets is a relaxing way to help others while also relieving some of the stress of their own lives.

How safe is donating platelets?

  • The process of donating platelets is completely risk-free.
  • Platelet donation is a simple and safe procedure.
  • Donating platelets is a quick and painless process with no known risks.

Does it hurt?

  • A minimum of for the time being. Use the inside of your arm to make a fist. It will feel like that when the needle is inserted into each of your arms.
  • Some blood donors prefer giving plasma since the needle used for platelet donations is smaller than the one used for whole blood donations.
  • When their fluids are returned, some donors experience chills. If you have access to blankets, you can use them to stay warm. Sometimes donors report feeling a slight tickle. This mild reaction to the anticoagulant used to restore blood to the body can be immediately diminished by taking calcium. If this occurs, a calcium supplement like Tums® will be prescribed.

How often can I donate platelets?

Donating platelets is a continuous process that can be done once every seven days, up to 24 times per year. If everyone gave platelets at least 10 times a year, it might save hundreds of lives.

How can I prepare for my platelet donation?

  • Giving blood platelets requires scheduling an appointment. Set up an appointment via the website, the mobile app (it’s free! ), or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
  • Appointments are needed for platelet donations. You can schedule your donation session via the website, the mobile app, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
  • Any potential blood donors should come prepared with a valid photo ID and a Red Cross donor card, or use the Blood Donor App to retrieve their information.
  • It would be best if you didn’t take any aspirin products before your meeting. If you ingest aspirin products on Monday, the earliest day you can donate platelets is Thursday.
  • For a successful donation, the donor should sit on the donation chair for at least three hours.
  • Don’t rush back into giving blood; give yourself plenty of time to heal.
  • Donors should consume enough of calcium-rich foods and drinks in the days leading up to their donation.
  • Every seven days, you can donate platelets up to 24 times a year.
  • The next sections detail the necessary qualifications, such as medical and travel prohibitions.

Who is eligible to donate platelets?

  • If you are in good health, fulfill the required weight and height, and are 16 or 17 years old, you may be eligible to donate platelets.
  • Due to legal restrictions on minors in some areas, we ask that you carefully consider our eligibility requirements before applying. Some medications have restrictions on where and when they can be used while traveling; you can learn more about these here.
  • Please review our eligibility requirements with your parents if you live in a state that requires it. You can also find out about any restrictions on where you can go or what medications you can take.
  • It would be best if you didn’t take any aspirin products before your meeting. If you ingest aspirin products on Monday, the earliest day you can donate platelets is Thursday.
  • There are the same requirements for donating platelets as there are for giving whole blood. You must be at least 17 years old and in good health to donate blood or platelets.
  • It was recently discovered that women who have given birth before are more likely to have antibodies that can cause complications for people who receive blood or platelets as transfusions. Until these issues are better understood, the Red Cross will screen all pregnant women who donate platelets and test all pregnant women for these antibodies. Donating whole blood or Power Red, rather than plasma, has no negative impact on the health of donors who test positive for antibodies.

What blood types should donate platelets?

  • All blood types, with the exception of O- and B-negative, are strongly urged to donate platelets. Type O-negative and B-negative donors have the greatest potential to help patients in need if they maintain their current donation rates for whole blood and Power Red.
  • If you want to aid someone with blood type AB, the best thing you can do is donate plasma. Donations of this type can be made at any of the American Red Cross’s many donation centers, just like platelet donations. Donating plasma rather than blood or platelets allows for a higher impact with a smaller number of donations because up to three times as much plasma can be sent.

Can I donate plasma at the same time as platelets?

  • If you have blood type AB and your local American Red Cross Donation Center isn’t accepting plasma-only contributions at the moment, you can still donate platelets. Platelet and plasma donations can be made at the same time.
  • Type AB blood is very rare in the United States, occurring in only 4% of the population.
  • If your blood type is AB, you can donate plasma to anyone who needs it.

Who Needs Platelets?

Platelet transfusions are an integral part of several potentially life-saving medical procedures. Platelet transfusions are essential for the survival of patients undergoing open heart surgery, cancer treatment, organ or bone marrow transplants, trauma, and chemotherapy. Blood platelets can only be frozen for five days, therefore regular contributions are required. Tens of thousands of people worldwide annually need platelet transfusions.

  • There are just six available beds for a patient undergoing heart surgery.
  • 20 beds for burn patients
  • Thirty Organ Donation Units
  • 120 Units of Bone Marrow Transplantation, One Patient

What is Apheresis?

Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) is a method that allows donors to provide only certain parts of their blood, like platelets. After an apheresis procedure, the donor gets everything minus the part of their blood that was taken out.

What Is It Like to Give Platelets for the First Time?

Who Can be an Apheresis Donor?

Your eligibility to give platelets will depend on whether or not you meet the criteria for blood donation. Apheresis donors must meet the following requirements:

  • One must be at least 18 years old.
  • get in shape
  • At a minimum of 114 pounds
  • You cannot donate if you have consumed aspirin or any product containing aspirin during the previous 48 hours.

Are Apheresis Donations Safe?

Yes. Each donation is closely monitored by trained professionals to assure the highest level of safety. There is no danger of significant bleeding because only a tiny amount of blood is drawn to harvest the platelets. Donated platelets will be replaced by your body within 72 hours. There is no risk of transmitting an infection through blood donation due of the sterility of the equipment used to draw the blood (needles, tubing, collection bags).

How Does the Procedure Work?

A small amount of blood will be drawn from your arm and then processed through a machine that can separate the different types of cells. Within the machine, a sterile kit spins your blood to separate platelets. Your remaining blood is then re-infused into your body through an arm vein.

How Long Does it Take?

Apheresis donation typically lasts between 70 minutes and two hours, though this might vary greatly based on the donor’s weight and stature. If you don’t feel like doing anything, there’s still plenty to do: watch TV, listen to music, or simply relax.

How Can I Become an Apheresis Donor?

Call (425) 453-5098 or (800) 398-7888 to get in touch with Bloodworks Northwest’s Apheresis Program.

Additional Donor Information on Apheresis Procedures

Platelets help to stop bleeding by clotting blood. With each donation, your platelet count will be checked to ensure you have enough to give to someone else without risk. As soon as we find out if your platelet count is too low or too high after your initial donation, we will let you know.

To keep the blood flowing while the platelets are being removed, an anticoagulant based on citrate is used. Citrate temporarily binds calcium to avoid blood clots.

Anticoagulant is a liquid that is added to your blood during collection to keep it from clotting. The anticoagulant can cause numbness and tingling in the fingers or around the mouth when the blood is returned to you. Notify the machine operator immediately if you experience tingling or numbness in your hands or feet. Calcium can alleviate these symptoms, but if left untreated, they might worsen and lead to painful muscle cramps. Your body will use the citrate as a source of energy and metabolize it.