As a donor, you are familiar with giving blood or plasma. But you can also help patients with leukaemia or other diseases by giving a specific portion of your blood, namely platelets (thrombocytes). Donating platelets is similar (in terms of procedure and time) to giving plasma.
Important cells for clotting
Platelets are very small cells in the blood that are made by stem cells in the bone marrow. Together with clotting proteins, platelets are important for clotting of your blood.
Life-saving platelet transfusions
Some diseases or treatments can cause a patient's platelet production to drop significantly. A transfusion of donor platelets can prevent spontaneous, sometimes life-threatening bleeding. If a bleeding has already occurred, swift administration of platelets is life-saving.
Platelets for transfusion are usually taken from the blood of various blood donations (from different donors). We prefer to give particularly vulnerable patients, such as young babies, platelets from a single donor.
Sometimes a transfusion of random platelets does not help, because the patient's body immediately breaks down the donor's platelets. In such cases, we ask a donor to give blood platelets that exactly match the patient's. In this case, specific blood type (HLA / tissue typing) information about the donor is required.