Apheresis Donation

Diagram to show the process of apheresis. Whole blood enters the centrifuge (1) and separates into plasma (2), leukocytes (3), and erythrocytes (4). Selected components are then drawn off (5).

Apheresis (A-fur-EE-sis) is a special kind of donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as plasma or platelets. Apheresis donations are available only at selected CBCO fixed site donor centers.

Blood is a mixture of red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets. During an apheresis procedure, blood is drawn from the donor’s arm through sterile tubing into a specialized instrument which separates the blood into components. The desired component is collected in a special bag, and the remaining components are returned to the donor.

Apheresis donations allow CBCO to carefully control our inventory. It is our goal not to waste a drop of this precious community resource. Apheresis donations give us the ability to manage the flow of blood to our area hospitals, maximizing your donation!

During platelet or plasma apheresis, blood is extracted from the donor’s arm and mixed with a solution to keep it from clotting. Then it goes into a sterile disposable set installed on the blood cell separator. When the blood is in the separator, platelets or plasma are removed. The other blood components that are not being collected are returned to the donor.

The procedure takes approximately one to two hours to complete. It is longer than a regular donation because it takes extra time to separate the blood components and collect the component. These specialized donations are needed daily to replenish the supply.

What Are Platelets?

Platelets are actually fragments of a larger cell, called megakaryocytes.  When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets rush to the site of the injury and temporarily repair the tear. Platelets then activate substances in plasma which form a clot and allow the wound to heal. After someone donates platelets, they may only be stored for five days.

Why Give Platelets?

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

More than 8,000 platelet apheresis donations are required here in the Ozarks each year.  Because they can only be stored for five days, the supply must be constantly replenished.

What is Plasma?

Plasma is the pale yellow liquid portion of your blood that can be easily replaced by the body. It consists mainly of water and proteins, which help your body control bleeding and infection.

Why Give Plasma?

Plasma products are used by burn, trauma and cancer patients.  Plasma is needed every day in our area hospitals.  By giving plasma through an apheresis procedure, you are able to donate more often than with a regular whole blood donation – every 28 days.

How Can I Become an Apheresis Donor?

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks takes platelet and plasma apheresis donations at our fixed site donor centers in Springfield, Mo. and Springdale, Ark.  If you want to save lives through apheresis, please give us a call at 1-800-280-5337 for more information or to make an appointment.