Helping the community: A special kind of blood donation
Apheresis is a special kind of blood donation when specific components — platelets, plasma, or white blood cells — can be collected.
During an apheresis donation, we collect whole blood from the donor and put it into a machine called a "cell separator." We spin the blood in the machine to separate the components and collect a measured amount of the desired component in a special bag. We then return the red cells and other components to the donor.
An apheresis platelet donation can provide as many platelets as six whole blood donations. Also, a platelet transfusion from a single donor greatly reduces the chances of an immune system reaction to the transfusion. Bone marrow transplant, cancer, and leukemia patients whose immune systems are already compromised benefit, particularly from single donor platelet transfusions.
Frequently asked questions
- What are platelets, and why are they so important?
- Who needs platelets?
- How long does apheresis take?
- Who can give platelets?
- Is apheresis safe for me?
- Are there any side effects during the procedure?
Blood is a mixture of red cells, white cells, plasma, and platelets. Platelets are cells that help control bleeding.
Many lifesaving medical treatments require platelet transfusions. Cancer patients, those receiving organ or marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries, and patients undergoing open-heart surgery require platelet transfusion to survive.
Depending on your weight and height, the actual apheresis donation process will take approximately 70 minutes to two hours. This includes donor registration, health interview, and time for refreshments. You may watch television, watch DVDs, listen to music, or just sit and relax while helping save lives.
Platelet apheresis donors need to meet the requirements for donating blood. You must weigh at least 115 pounds, be at least 16 years old with a signed parental consent form and be in good health.
If you meet the requirements to donate blood, your platelet count will be determined during the mini-physical before donation. To be eligible to donate platelets, you cannot have ingested aspirin 36 hours before donation.
Yes, apheresis donations are very safe. Each donation is closely supervised by trained staff who observe the donors throughout the process. Only a small percentage of your platelets are collected, so there are no risks of bleeding. Your body will replace the donated platelets within 48 hours. The donation equipment—needle, tubing, and collection bags—is sterile and discarded after each donation, making it virtually impossible to contract a disease from the process.
The vast majority of apheresis donors experience no discomfort during the collection process. Some feel a slight tingling sensation around the lips and nose during donation. This reaction is caused by the anticoagulant used in the procedure. This can be easily controlled if the donor tells the staff about his or her discomfort. Donors may feel a slight chill during the donation. We'll be happy to provide a blanket to keep you warm.
Questions about donating - call Lee Health Blood Center at 239-343-2333
Blood Center - Bonita Health Center
3501 Health Center Blvd, Suite 2100 Estero, FL 34135Fax: (239) 495-4371
Blood Center - Lee Memorial Hospital
2776 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901Fax: (239) 343-3842
Blood Center - Cape Coral Hospital
636 Del Prado Blvd Cape Coral, FL 33990Fax: (239) 424-4089
Blood Center - Summerlin Crossing
15880 Summerlin Rd, Suite 113 Fort Myers, FL 33908Fax: (239) 343-7120
Lab Services - Cape Coral Hospital
636 Del Prado Blvd Cape Coral, FL 33990Fax: (239) 424-4188
Lab Services - Coconut Point
23450 Via Coconut Pt Estero, FL 33928Fax: (239) 343-4022
Lab Services - Downtown Cape Coral
1335B Cape Coral Pkwy Cape Coral, FL 33904Fax: (239) 343-4092
Lab Services - Golisano Children's Health Center
3361 Pine Ridge Rd, Suite 102 Naples, FL 34109Fax: (239) 254-5908
Lab Services - HealthPark Commons
16281 Bass Rd, Suite 202 Fort Myers, FL 33908Fax: (239) 343-5197
Lab Services - Pine Island Rd
1682 NE Pine Island Rd Cape Coral, FL 33909Fax: (239) 424-1641
Lab Services - Lee Memorial Hospital
2776 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33901Fax: (239) 343-3197
Lab Services - Plantation Rd
13601 Plantation Rd, Suite 1 Fort Myers, FL 33912Fax: (239) 343-0956
Lab Services - Surfside
2441 Surfside Blvd, Suite 100 Cape Coral, FL 33914Fax: (239) 541-7524
Lab Services - The Sanctuary
8960 Colonial Center Dr, Suite 102 Fort Myers, FL 33905Fax: (239) 343-9427