Platelet donation, known technically as aphaeresis donation, is when blood platelets are harvested from donor blood. They are stored and transfused to patients suffering from blood disorders.
As with any donation, donors will need to meet our donor criteria. Whole blood is drawn during a routine donation procedure, and then separated into its constituent parts-plasma, red cells and platelets. Once the platelets and plasma are extracted for use, the red blood is transferred back to the donor. The donation procedure does take a little longer than regular donation – about two hours.
All about platelets
Platelets play a vital role in clotting the blood and preventing excessive blood loss. Platelet transfusions are used to treat patients with leukaemia, aplastic anaemia and other blood disorders.
Platelets have a shelf life of only five days and must be processed within eight hours of donation. Unlike red blood cells which can be stored for up to five weeks, platelets must therefore be obtained more frequently. That’s why platelet donors are often required on short notice.