CPBB's Apheresis Program

What is apheresis?
Apheresis (from the Greek language meaning to “separate and remove”) is a procedure by which whole blood is drawn from a donor and separated into its different parts.

How does an apheresis donation differ from a whole blood donation?
Whole blood donations contain red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Apheresis allows specific components, such as platelets, to be collected from a donor. (The platelet product is known as a single-donor platelet). It would take 6-10 whole blood donations to supply the same amount of platelets from one apheresis procedure.

Who needs single donor platelets?
Patients with the following medical conditions benefit from single- donor platelets: cancer or leukemia; transplant patients and patients with blood disorders.

How is apheresis done?
A single needle is inserted into the donor’s arm and blood is continuously drawn from the donor’s arm and passed through disposable plastic tubing in an apheresis machine where the blood is separated and the platelets are removed. The remaining portion of the blood is returned to the donor using the same needle. The actual donation part of the procedure takes between 30-90 minutes. Donors may watch a movie or read during the donation process.

Who can be an apheresis donor?
Requirements for apheresis donors are similar to those for whole blood donors with the following additional criteria:

  • No citrate allergies (i.e. oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes)
  • No aspirin or products containing aspirin in the past 48 hours
  • No calcium channel blockers

How often can donation occur?
A donor may donate single-donor platelets every 2 weeks, but must not exceed 24 donations in a year.

Is apheresis donation safe?
Apheresis has been used to collect blood products for many years and is considered to be safe. No long- term adverse effects are known.

Appointments and more information
A pre-evaluation is required at least one week prior to your first donation. If interested, please call.

Contact the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank at 1-800-771-0059 for more information or to schedule an appointment for evaluation or donation.