Friday, December 19, 2003

Platelets

Tomorrow, I have an 8:00 AM appointment to donate platelets. I haven't donated in a couple of months due to my work schedule, but I'm ready to start back up. Platelets can be donated every three days (up to 24 times per year) whereas whole blood can only be donated once every eight weeks. I usually shoot for once every four or five weeks to give my arm enough time to heal (plus the fact that it takes a couple of hours each time you donate).

Unlike whole blood, which can be refrigerated and stored for a month, the shelf-life of platelets is about five days. It takes about eight pints of whole blood to produce the same amount of platelets as are extracted in a platelet donation. Chemo patients and others with suppressed immune systems are the biggest users of platelets.

I don't know why I donate platelets other than I was asked to. It's one of those, "Why not?" kind of things. If you're interested, I can tell you more about the process, but it'll have to be another day.

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