What is Apheresis?
Apheresis is the process of separating blood into its different components: Platelets, Red Blood Cells (RBCs) and Plasma. Platelet donations allow us to collect what our patients need and return the rest of the blood to the donor.
” Sometimes, patients need only a specific part of a donor’s blood. To help these people, donations of individual blood components such as platelets or plasma are sometimes required. Such donations are known as apheresis donations.
The extraction of only platelets from a donor’s blood is known as plateletpheresis, while plasmapheresis refers to the extraction of a donor’s plasma.” ¹
Read more on Platelets and Platelets Apheresis donation
Apheresis donors are special and extraordinary persons. They are called upon to make special donation of selective components instead of whole blood donation. They can make platelets, plasma or red blood cells. This being said, they can also give whole donation and after 15 days give platelets.
Why Apheresis donation?
Apheresis donations are an essential part of treatment for patients with cancer and other life-threatening medical conditions. By becoming an apheresis donor, you can make a huge contribution to these critically-ill patients with special transfusion needs. As mentioned above, Cancer patients needs platelets due to their low level of platelets which is essential in blood clotting. Platelet transfusions are routinely needed to support patients undergoing cancer therapy, open-heart surgery, organ transplantation, and for patients with bleeding disorders. Platelets have a very short shelf-life and must be transfused within five days of collection. This requires constant replenishment of the blood bank supply. Platelet donations can be donated up to 24 times a year.
What the Apheresis Machine does?
Instead of collecting a unit (about a pint) of your blood as a whole, donations can be made for only the component that is needed most by local patients. These donations are made through an automated process known as apheresis. This process collects whole blood from the donor, isolates the needed component, then returns the remaining components along with a saline solution back to the donor.
This is done in about 6 cycles. It separates the needed component, say platelets and return everything to your body. While, a blood donation is about 7 minutes, Apheresis for platelets is about 60-90 minutes max and Plasma Apheresis is about 45 minutes.
It’s like a blood donation, SAFE, NO PAIN AT ALL and is done by a sophisticated machine.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is the pale yellow type of the liquid portion in which are suspended red blood cells, platelets and other components. Blood plasma is a yellowish coloured liquid component of blood that normally holds the blood cells in whole blood in suspension. Plasma is the single largest component of human blood, comprising about 55 percent, and contains water, salts, enzymes, antibodies and other proteins.
Plasma carries out a variety of functions in the body, including clotting blood, fighting diseases and other critical functions.
Source plasma is plasma that is collected from healthy, voluntary donors through a process called plasmapheresis and is used exclusively for further manufacturing into final therapies (fractionation). Source plasma donors may be compensated for their time and effort.
” Plasma donation requires a commitment both in the amount of time for each donation and frequency of donation. Typically it takes between one and three hours to donate source plasma, and plasma can be donated twice within a seven day period. Whole blood donation takes less time—under 30 minutes—and donors donate less frequently—no more than once in eight weeks. The programs may fit into a donor’s life differently at various times in the donor’s life, and are equally important in helping to fulfill a vital medical need.”
So, Plasma donors enable people with serious illnesses to regain health and save lives!
GOOD TO KNOW FOR AB BLOOD GROUP: Type AB donors are in high demand because they are “universal” plasma donors. Their plasma can be used to treat all patients.
Read more > What is Plasma ?
The Advantages of Apheresis
You can make an apheresis donation every month, up to 12 times a year. Platelets donors can give every 15 days or up to 24 times a year
With modern theurapeutic treatment, instead of giving whole blood, as mentioned, only a selecyive components that are needed. With regular apheresis donations, you can help ensure a stable supply of blood products for patients when they need it.
Apheresis donation is very SAFE, Not Painful. It is like Blood Donation a donor does in a Mobile Blood Drives.
Platelets donation through Apheresis compared to whole blood donation
Platelet donors can help more patients by donating more units during each donation.
Apheresis collections are optimized based on donor/patient blood types, the donor’s ability and desire to donate, and the patients’ transfusion needs.
Only the blood components needed are collected for our patients; the other components are returned to the donor.
The Apheresis Experience
During apheresis, machines called blood cell separators are used to draw blood from you. After the plasma, platelets or red cells in the blood have been extracted, the remaining blood will be returned to you. You might feel a slight tingling sensation or get a little cold during the procedure.
In Mauritius, we collect more and most often platelets through apheresis procedures and we encourage more donors to become Apheresis Platelets donors as there are many cases of therapeutic treatment for Cancer on the rise, and give same, that is platelets to patients during cardiac surgeries and to those patients with low count or level of platelets.
- What can I do to prepare before I donate?
- Drink 6- 8 glasses of water, fruit juice or other caffeine-free liquid at least
- 2 to 3 hours before donation
- Avoid caffeinated beverages
- Avoid alcohol of any type for 24 hours before you donate
- Eat a meal prior to donation
- Get adequate sleep
- What can I do after I donate?
- Eat a light meal
- Drink more fluids than usual for the next 4 hours
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
- Keep your venipuncture site clean and dry
- The bandage may be removed after several hours
- If there is bleeding from the venipuncture site, raise arm and apply pressure
- If dizziness occurs (very rarely, either lie down or sit with your head between your knees
- If symptoms or other discomfort persist, call us or the hospital nearest to your location and we would appreciate you let us know also perhaps my calling us or sending us an email: email@example.com
There are certain nutrients you should try to include in that meal. It should be heavy on proteins and include sources of iron.
Some easy and inexpensive sources of protein include:
- Canned tuna/Sardines
- Peanut butter
Vegetarians and Proteins
For vegetarians, this should not be a problem as there are many rich sources of protein like: Soya, legumes, green leaves, Green peas, Oatmeal, Pumpkin seeds, Soy Milk, Milk, Cheese etc.
Read more on vegetarian sources of protein
¹ Health Sciences Authority