Lately at Incept, I’ve been having conversations with more and more blood donors about trying to donate platelets.
When it comes to donating blood, sometimes – depending on the donor’s type and if they meet certain qualifications – an apheresis style donation is a lot more beneficial to the receiving blood bank.
When donating the component of the blood known as thrombocytes, better known as platelets, the process is literally the same as doing a red cell donation or a plasma donation. As with any aphaeretic style donation the objective and reasoning behind it all is to collect a specific component of the blood to turn it into multiple transfusable products that wouldn’t have been directly obtainable with just a regular whole blood donation.
At the microscopic level, a platelet looks a lot like tiny, fluffy, white cloves floating around in our blood streams. Whenever your skins gets a nasty cut or scratch your body produces a scab due to platelets forming so that new skin may heal beneath. Perhaps the most obvious function of a platelet cell is to clot when bleeding occurs inside or outside of the body.
One of the biggest reasons why the need for platelets is of constant concern for many blood centers and blood banks is due to the fact that platelets only have a shelf life of five days, unlike whole blood which has a shelf life of three to four weeks. Needless to say, there is little that can be done when it comes to attempting to set up any sort of steady supply. That is just another reason why a blood donor’s help is so frequently needed. Another underlying factor for the consistent need for platelets comes from many more surgeries and procedures taking place in hospitals every day. These procedures can include organ transplants, emergency room surgeries, and especially cancer patients going through chemotherapy and other treatments.
Oftentimes people with blood types of A+, B+, and especially AB+ are suggested to try a platelet donation if they meet their blood bank’s physical requirements. The process can take between one-and-a-half hours to two hours, but most blood banks offer magazines or have televisions going with popular movies to help pass the time. Many donors who meet qualifications find it to be quite comfortable.
In the upcoming summer months, if you have one of the above preferred blood types for donating platelets, what is stopping you from making a donation that can drastically improve someone’s living condition or even save their life?