Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding. When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets collect at the site of the injury and temporarily repair the tear. Platelets then activate substances in plasma which form a clot and allow the wound to heal.
Many lifesaving medical treatments require platelet transfusions. Annually, thousands of cancer patients, transplants patients, victims of traumatic injuries, burn patients, and patients undergoing open heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive. Because platelets only have a shelf life of 5 days, they are used immediately so we are always in great need.
If you meet the requirements for donating blood, you probably can give platelets. Depending on your platelet count, some platelet donors may donate as often as every two weeks. Platelet donors must not have taken aspirin or medication containing aspirin 48 hours prior to donating.
Absolutely! Like all blood donations, all the collection supplies are sterile and single-use and are discarded after each donation. Only a small percentage of your platelets are collected, so there are no risks of bleeding problems. Your body will replace the donated platelets within 48 hours. Platelet collections also use a smaller needle than traditional blood donations. You’ll receive replacement fluid during the donation which will help re-hydrate you.
While you’re donating, a cell separator spins the blood and separates out some of your platelets. All your other blood components are immediately and safely returned to you.
Depending on your height and weight, platelet donations will take approximately two hours. During the donation you will have access to an iPad and free wifi.
Call our dedicated platelet team at 800-707-8483 for more information or to schedule an appointment.