How Does Platelet Donation Work? Complete Guide In 4 Steps

How does platelet donation work? Medical facilities encourage thousands of donors for platelet donation. Many patients survive on the donated platelet. It is estimated; that the United States of America alone needs at least one donor every 30 seconds. 

Platelets are a vital part of your circulatory system. These blood cells assist in clot formation which, eventually stops the bleeding. Platelets are produced in the bone marrow and, the normal range of platelets in the body is 150,000 to 500,000.

how does platelet donation work

There is an increased risk of bleeding if the platelet count falls below 50,000.  

As donated, Platelets have a 5-day shelf life, so we need more donations. Platelet donation is necessary for people suffering from cancer, thrombocytopenia, platelet dysfunction, patients who lost a large amount of blood in an accident, or patients with chronic infections that result in decreased platelet count. 


Four Steps Of Platelet Donation

How does platelet donation work? Platelet donation involves a machine that will extract your blood but only take the platelets and return your blood. On the other hand, there are four steps for platelet donation. Read the article till the end to understand the entire procedure clearly.


Step #1. Eat before going for donation

Before going for donation, it is necessary to have a meal or a salty snack and lots of water. Eating food before platelet donation will keep you full. It will maintain your blood sugar so you won’t feel dizzy and lightheaded after donation.  

Refrain from eating foods with lots of oils instead; you can have iron-rich foods like spinach, fish, poultry, and fruits. Have your meal two to three hours earlier to donate. Additionally, avoid having hot drinks twenty to thirty minutes before plasma donation. 


Step #2. Criteria for donation

Once you arrive at the clinic for donating, they will check your temperature. To qualify for donation, calculating your BMI through your weight and height will occur. An induvial should weigh at least 50kgs and must have a height of a minimum of 5ft.  

Age is also an essential factor induvial younger than 17 years are not allowed to donate platelets.

After taking basics into account, the questions about your health and the medicines are asked. People with cardiac problems and infections cannot donate platelets and those with a history of cancer and pregnant women. People who have recently traveled to countries with any endemic going there like dengue or malaria should delay platelet donation for at least three weeks.


Step #3. The procedure

After registering, you will proceed towards the blood donation station. Once you are comfortable, you will have to roll up the sleeves on both arms. Two needles are required, one for drawing blood and the other for returning.

Needles are inserted in veins on both arms and are attached to a centrifuging machine. You will not feel any pain during the platelet donation. However, while inserting a needle might sting a little bit. 

You can sit back and relax, as the blood from one of your arms will go into the centrifuging machine, separating the blood into its component and collecting the platelets. The centrifuging machine spins the blood at a high rate and separates all the blood components according to their densities.  

This blood spins several times for one donation. And the collected platelets will be in the sterile bag. The rest of the blood components will return to the body through a needle on another arm. This process of platelet donation will take approximately two to three hours.  

The platelet taken in this donation is equal in quantity to the platelet collected from three whole blood donations. Sometimes the platelets donated by one induvial can be used for three patients.  


Step #4. After the donation

Once the process ends, the medical staff will remove needles and send the collected platelet bag to the blood bank. You should rest for 15 to 30 minutes after donation and eat snacks. Usually, the people at the blood donation drive or the clinic will provide you with snacks and a water bottle. 

Eating after the donation is as important as eating before donation, which will prevent you from feeling tired or weak or lightheaded. To prevent dehydration, you must drink plenty of water for the next twenty-four hours.


Three Important Points For Platelet Donation

Before you undergo platelet donation, you must keep in mind that there are essential points to remember. The process would be crucial as medical experts take out your blood and its transfer to another person’s body, so what you do before donating might affect the quality of your platelets.


Point #1. Blood types

All blood types can donate platelet except for type O negative and B negative. Blood type AB is the most preferred choice for platelet donation. Before you undergo the donation, the medical experts will test your blood first and see if it’s suitable for potential beneficiaries.


Point #2. Diet 

Take calcium supplements regularly for donating blood. Calcium is necessary for the absorption of iron from the gut. Introduce more iron-rich foods in your diets like leafy vegetables and meat. Learn more of this from this article, “What to eat before blood donation?”


Point #3. The period between each donation

You can donate once a week and six times in eight weeks, as long as you are, maintaining your health. One individual can donate a platelet about thirty times a year. So, if you want to donate, make sure to avoid vices such as smoking and drinking alcohol. On the other hand, we suggest you also read, “What to do before, during and after a donation?” 


It’s A Wrap!

A donation is a generous act and, Platelet donations are always encouraged as they get expired in five days.

Though, it is preferred to transfer platelets within three days after a platelet donation. It is good to study how does platelet donation work before going for actual platelet donation. It will give you a sense of relaxation and, you can prepare ahead for platelet donating. On the other hand, here’s another article for you; “How long does it take to recover from double red cell donation?”

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