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Patient & Visitor services Platelet Donation FAQs

 

Why are platelet donations needed so often?
Platelets only have a shelf-life of five days. Patients usually require platelet transfusions because of an organ transplant, cancer treatment, surgery, or a variety of illnesses. These patients need someone to volunteer and pay it forward by donating. You are the solution when you donate.

Who can donate platelets?
Platelet donors at Rush need to be between 18 and 75 years of age, weigh more than 110 pounds, and be in general good health. If you fit these criteria, you can probably donate platelets.

Are there additional rules to donate platelets?
Platelet donors may not take aspirin products 48 hours before donation, or naproxen sodium or ibuprofen 24 hours prior to donation.

How long does it take to donate platelets?
Platelet donation takes longer than blood donation, and you should schedule your first donation appointment for three hours. 

Why does it take so long to donate platelets?
Platelets are collected through a special process called apheresis. This allows us to seperate the platelets from your other blood cells.

What happens when you donate?
You check in, fill out a donation record, then go to a private booth for screening and get a mini health physical to confirm you are healthy enough to donate that day.

Is donating with the Rush Blood Donor Program different than other donation centers?
Yes. When you donate with the Rush Blood Center, you know your donation is going to benefit a patient at Rush University Medical Center. All of the blood products collected at the Rush Blood Center are tested to meet or exceed the quailty standards required by all of our licensing and accreditation bodies (FDA and AABB). While the process of donating is similar to other places where you might have donated, there are slight variations between blood centers as to donation criteria.

I know of someone who has cancer and requires frequent transfusions. I want my platelets to go only to that person.
We understand your desire to donate platelets a specific person, which is known as assigned donation. Please remember there are patients every day who need platelets and they need someone to pay it forward by scheduling and keeping a platelet donation appointment.

Can my donation go to a specific individual as an assigned donation?
Yes. You must mention the patient's full name when making your appointment. Whenever possible a family member or friend should coordinate the process if several people are interested in donating. Print and electronic information is readily available to educate and inform supportive friends and family members.  

What if I donate to my friend and they don't need the platelets after all?
Assigned platelet donations are collected, tested and made ready for transfusion the same as other platelets. The blood bank will move platelets to the general inventory on the fifth day of storage if the patient they are assigned to does not appear to need them.
 


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