Donors at the Fort Oglethorpe location of Blood Assurance can now donate specific blood components using a collection method known as apheresis.
Platelet donations are the most common form of apheresis. In a healthy person, platelets are the clotting factors in blood. Treatment for cancer uses potent drugs that kill healthy cells as well as cancerous ones, leaving patients vulnerable to bleeding and other complications.
Unlike a regular whole blood donation, apheresis collects one full unit of platelets from a single donor. In a whole blood donation, red cells, plasma and platelets are collected and separated. It takes up to six whole blood donations to make one unit of platelets.
Cancer patients, those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries and patients undergoing heart surgery are some of the recipients of apheresis donations.
Depending on your height and weight, the donation process will take approximately one hour. Because platelets replenish themselves faster than whole blood, you can donate every seven days, up to 24 times per year. Platelets only have a shelf life of five days so eligible donors are encouraged to give platelets as often as possible.
Donors on certain types of medications will not be eligible to donate platelets. However, the list of medications has been shortened due to regulations, so if you were previously ineligible to donate platelets, you may now be eligible.
The most common medicines that will affect your apheresis donation are aspirin or products containing aspirin, (like Excedrin) Coumadin, Heparin, Lovenox and Warfarin.
If you are interested in making an apheresis donation, please make an appointment by calling Blood Assurance at 706-861-5983. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.