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Apheresis Center

UTMB Blood Center

2441 FM 646, Suite A

Dickinson, Texas 77539 

Appointment is required, please contact us at 281-534-8836.

Recycle Life through a Plateletpheresis Donation

This is John A. Zendt, a Moody Gardens Employee donating platelets and plasma.

Do you want to become an Apheresis Donor?

What is an Apheresis?

    Apheresis (a-fur-ee-sis) means "to take away".  It is  a special kind of donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as platelets.  During the apheresis procedure, all but the needed blood components are returned  to the donor.  



Why is blood separated?

    Depending on their illness or injury, patients need different  types of blood components.  Whole blood is made up of several components: Red and white blood cells, plasma, and platelets.  A cell separator called a centrifuge is used to separate the platelets from the remainder of the blood components.



What are platelets?

    Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding.  When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets collect at the site of injury and temporarily repair the tear.  They then activate substances in plasma which form a clot and allow the wound to heal. 



Why are plateletpheresis donors needed?

    After you donate whole blood, the unit is separated into platelets, red cells and plasma in our laboratory.  Six to ten whole blood donations must be separated and pooled to provide a single platelet transfusion.  However, one apheresis donation provides enough platelets for a complete transfusion. 



Who needs platelets? 

    Many lifesaving medical treatments require platelet transfusions.  Cancer patients, those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries and many other patients require platelet transfusions to survive.  



Who can be an apheresis donor?

    Frequently, if you can donate whole blood, you can give platelets.  Requirements for apheresis donation are very similar to those for whole blood donors.  


at least 17 year of age

in good health

weigh at least 110 pounds

not have taken aspirin or products containing aspirin within 72 hours prior to donation.



Are apheresis donations safe?

    YES. Each donation is closely supervised throughout the collection by trained staff.  A small percentage of your platelets are collected, so there is no risk to you of any bleeding problems.  Your body will replace the donated platelets within 72 hours.  The donation equipment (needles, tubing, collection bags) is sterile and discarded after every donation, making it virtually impossible to contract any illness from the process.



How does the procedure work?

    Blood is drawn from your arm through sterile tubing into a centrifuge.  The centrifuge spins the blood to separate the components, which vary in weight and density.  The platelets are drawn up into a collection bag, while the remaining blood components are returned to you through your other arm.  



How long does it take?

    Depending on your weight and height, the apheresis donation process will take approximately two hours.  You may watch television or videotapes, listen to music, or simply sit back and relax while helping to save a life.  



How do I become an apheresis donor?

    Now that you know how important aphersis donors are, call the UTMB Apheresis Program at (281)534-8836.  


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