Why are platelets important?
Platelets make up less than 1% of our blood. They help our body repair damaged blood vessels. The delicate blood component is crucial for healing many patients, especially those battling cancer.
We encourage our donors to give platelets through an automated system. The equipment draws blood, separates the platelets, and returns the other components to the donor, along with a saline solution. As a result, you can donate platelets as frequently as every two weeks!
How often can I donate platelets?
You’re able to donate platelets every seven days, up to 24 times a year. While donating that frequently is not required, we encourage our donors to donate as often as they can. If you make a platelet donation, you’ll need to wait three days before making a whole blood donation.
Did you know?
Platelets help your body form clots and stop bleeding.
A healthy adult can have a platelet count from 150,000 to 450,000 per microliter of blood.
Platelets are made from cells in bone marrow.
The life span of platelets in the body is around seven to 10 days.
Platelets Helping People
Donors helped Sophia as she battled leukemia. During her journey, she received platelets after developing veno-occlusive disease, a disorder in which platelets eat away at other platelets. She says blood donors are near and dear to her heart!
Diego received many blood transfusions including platelets as part of his therapy for leukemia at Texas Children's Hospital. Diego is a very active kid who loves to play and ride his bike. He feels tremendous gratitude toward those who sacrifice their time to donate blood.
Paulette was diagnosed with leukemia in 2022. She had to have multiple blood transfusions including platelets throughout her chemo treatment. She says those blood transfusions made her feel much better! Paulette credits blood donors for her survival and says they mean the world to her! She enjoys spending time with her family and grandson.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Approach to the FDA Platelet Guidance Talking Points
Platelets play a significant role in hemostasis and sustaining life during an emergency where bleeding is present. To ensure better quality and safety of platelet transfusion, the FDA issued a new recommended BACTERIAL SAFETY guidance that must be implemented by Oct. 1, 2021. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is in the final planning stages of compliance with the guidance.
The Blood Center will implement both Large Volume Delayed Sampling (LVDS), using storage bags approved for seven-day storage, and Pathogen Reduced (PR) technology to enhance the safety, purity, and potency of apheresis platelets stored at room temperature. This decision comes after a careful review of our supply chain in conjunction with customer survey feedback provided since 2019.
Effective Oct. 1, 2021, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center will provide a mix of LVDS platelets and PR platelets to maximize the safety and availability of our regional platelet supply. However, as our regional demands change based on technology strategy, we will adjust PR production as needed.
One of the challenges you might face is that if you donate platelets regularly, you might not be able to give the donation type that you used to. This is due to the larger volume being required for platelet testing. If this happens, you are no longer large enough based on Total Blood Volume (TBV) to donate the types you may have donated in the past.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is sampling a larger volume of the platelets to test for bacterial contamination and are taking these samples from the platelet bags later than in the past. This will give a better chance to detect bacterial growth, which then gives patients in local hospitals a safer product.
Pathogen Reduced (PR) platelets involve treating the units with a special UV light that kills bacteria, viruses, and any other potential pathogen while at the same time, not harming platelets and their ability to help you maintain hemostasis. To make PR platelets, specific platelet collection targets are needed.