Donating Blood Components
Traditionally, blood donation involves drawing a pint of whole blood. But there's another way to donate one blood component at a time (red cells, platelets, or plasma). Called apheresis, the process involves a specialized machine that draws the blood, filters out the needed components, and returns the rest of the blood to the donor.
- Blood goes through a sterile tube from your arm into a centrifuge.
- The centrifuge spins the blood to separate the different blood components.
- The desired component (for example, platelets) is drawn up into a collection bag.
- The remaining components (red cells and plasma, in this example) are returned to the donor.
Who Needs Components?
- Platelets: Patients who are hemorrhaging, cancer patients
- Plasma: Burn victims.
Why Donate Components?
Donating components via apheresis is a more efficient way to collect just the needed component for a patient. For example, a whole blood pint contains only about two tablespoons of platelets. So multiple donations need to be pooled in order to make one full transfusion of platelets. However, the apheresis process can draw almost a full transfusion of platelets from one donor in one sitting.
Who Can Donate Components?
- At least 17 years old
- No aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs in the past 48 hours
- Appointment required - Call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) to make an appointment to donate components.