Types of Donations / Blood Products

Red Blood Cells

Whole Blood

What is whole blood donation? A whole blood (WB) donation is the most common form of blood donation, in which a person gives one pint of blood. What is whole blood used for? After your donation, our lab separates the whole blood into its components. We do this because it allows us to deliver what…

Composition of Blood

Apheresis — Platelets, Plasma, and Double Red Blood Cells

What is apheresis blood collection? Apheresis blood collection, or ABC, is a special kind of blood donation. Instead of giving one pint of whole blood (as in a regular donation), an ABC donor gives only the components of blood needed for patients that day. ABC is made possible by an amazing machine that separates the…

Platelets

Platelets

What are platelets used for? Platelets, which come from bone marrow, help to induce clotting and control bleeding. Patients who have been treated for leukemia with chemotherapy, for example, will often need to be transfused platelets. What is the process of donating platelets? During a platelet donation, we will collect one, two, or three units...

Plasma

Plasma

What is plasma used for? Much like platelets, plasma helps to induce clotting and control bleeding. However, it does this through different mechanisms and many of the clotting factors found in plasma are made from the liver.  Therefore, although both plasma and platelets both help to control bleeding, they are sometimes used for different patient…

Double Red Blood Cells

Double Red Blood Cell Donation (DRBC)

What is double red blood cell donation? During a double red blood cell donation, a machine is used to withdraw whole blood. Red cells are separated and retained, and the remainder of the blood is returned back to the donor. This donation safely removes twice as many red cells than traditional whole blood. We refer…

Learn More About Apheresis on our Blog

Collecting Plasma on the ALYX Machine

Beginning January 8, we expanded our collections to include plasma products drawn on the ALYX machine. The ALYX machine is an apheresis machine that separates and collects various blood components and returns what we aren’t using to the donor — if you’ve done a double red blood cell (DRBC) donation, then you’ve donated through the…

Platelet Donation 301 — Platelets and HLA Typing

Most of you probably know that when you donate blood products, they test for your blood type (A-positive, O-negative, etc.). But you might not know that when you donate platelets, they test for an additional type — your HLA type. HLA stands for Human Leukocyte Antigen. These antigens are found on most organs and tissues…

Diaries of a Platelet Donor

In 1989, I was the victim of a serious motorcycle accident. My left leg and hip were seriously injured – I suffered from a broken hip socket, compound fractures of my tibia and fibula, and other issues. I spent a miserable month in the hospital before having to learn to walk again. Through all of…

Platelet Donation 201 — Platelet Donation, Pregnancy and TRALI

Welcome back! As discussed in last week’s blog, Platelet Donation 101, women who have been previously pregnant are discouraged from donating platelets and plasma to reduce risk of TRALI. But what exactly is TRALI, and what does pregnancy have to do with it? Platelet donation, pregnancy, and TRALI explained. TRALI is an acronym meaning transfusion-related…

Platelet Donation 101

As some of you may already know (and some of you may not!), you can actually donate more than one type of blood product. When you think about blood donation, most people probably first think of whole blood (when a person gives one pint of their blood). But another equally important type of donation is…

Should You Be Donating Platelets?

When most people think about making an appointment at Stanford Blood Center (SBC), they think of coming in to donate whole blood, the most common type of donation. Less common, but needed just as much, is platelet donation through apheresis blood collection (ABC). What are platelets? Platelets are blood cells that help stop bleeding. And…