If your question about Apheresis is not listed, please email us
Why must I make an appointment in advance?
are made for apheresis donors to assure efficient use of everyone’s
time. The advantage to you is that your health history, the donation,
and some time in the canteen area
will be a scheduled two and a half hours for each donation. Equipment,
staff and parking have been reserved JUST FOR YOU.
to you is your arrival will be greeted with the most expedient
service we can provide. The advantage to us is that we can adequately
staff the donor centers providing the most cost-effective service
to the medical community. A missed appointment is a loss to everyone.
Please inform the Apheresis Scheduling Office at least 24 hours
in advance if you are unable to keep your appointment. Remember:
bring your Red Cross blood donor card OR positive identification
with you to every apheresis appointment.
Who staffs the Apheresis Department?
All Apheresis Collection Staff are experienced in whole blood collection
and have specialized training in apheresis and the use of the sophisticated
blood cell separating equipment.
What are the appointment times available to apheresis donors?
Appointment availability will vary from donor center to donor
center. All three centers are open six days a week, and on
all holidays except Christmas. Specific appointment dates
and times are readily available, and will be discussed with
you in detail when you are ready to make your first donation.
Is making an Apheresis donation safe?
Yes. All Apheresis Donor Centers use
specialized equipment in which a sterile and disposable collection
kit is placed. You and your
blood components only come in contact with a collection kit.
Your blood never comes in contact with another donor’s
blood or with the collection machinery. There is absolutely no
risk of contracting AIDS through apheresis donations.
Is there a risk of donating too many platelets?
No. Although you will be donating more platelets through apheresis,
you are not at risk of donating too many. Our first and foremost
consideration is you health and safety. We will check your platelet
count routinely to be certain that it is in the normal range.
Healthy blood donors have literally hundreds of thousands of
platelets circulating through their blood. The body rapidly manufactures
additional platelets as those in circulation are used. Most apheresis
donors will replace donated platelets in about a day or two.
During that interval the donor is at no additional risk.
Will any specialized testing be done?
Yes. In addition to all the tests normally performed on blood
donations, special testing will be done to determine your platelet
compatibility with a patient needing them, such as typing for
Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLAs).
When I donate platelets, I sometimes feel a little tingling sensation.
The anticoagulant used in the apheresis donation process will temporarily
bind with the calcium in your blood. As your body adjusts to this
temporary binding, you may feel some tingling. Donors are highly
encouraged to inform a staff person if this sensation occurs. Staff
may adjust the equipment, and/or supply a calcium supplement to
help ease the tingling. Additionally, increasing your calcium intake
a day or two prior to donation may help you feel more comfortable.
*Try this: Eat a diet rich in calcium. Low fat dairy products
are a great source of calcium. Enjoy your favorite yogurt or
low fat cottage cheese. If you can spare the extra calories,
why not indulge in a dish of ice cream or a milk shake?
Other sources of calcium are leafy green vegetables such as
broccoli and spinach.
Many fruit drinks such as orange juice are enriched with calcium.
Check the label next time you shop.
I have been deferred from donating blood because my iron count
was not high enough. Why?
All blood banks are required to follow guidelines listed in the
Food and Drug Administration's Code of Federal Regulations. Quality
standards for blood donations include testing a donor's hematocrit
(HCT) to assure eligibility, limiting HCTs to be no lower than
38 to donate blood or blood products. This restriction is not
only for the safety of the donor, but also for the quality of
the blood product the American Red Cross is providing to a patient
in need. Many influences could cause lower HCT's. If this is
a recurring problem, the American Red Cross suggests individuals
should consult with their personal physician.
*Try this: Eat a diet rich in iron a day or two prior to your
appointment to prepare for each donation. Foods such as raisins,
cashews, whole wheat bread, and beef are great sources for