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10 Facts On What Is Apheresis

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What is Apheresis

The human body is a sensitive structure. It is vulnerable to both internal and external injuries which may result to blood loss.

With excessive loss of blood, the body can succumb to complications. Medical experts therefore advise people to donate blood to others through a medical procedure known as Apheresis.

It is a procedure of collecting blood components such as platelets and plasma.

Below are ten important facts about apheresis interesting to know.

Facts About Apheresis

1. How Apheresis Is Performed

A medical machine is used to draw out blood from the body – usually the arm. The machine then separates the components of the withdrawn blood. Only the plasma or platelets components will be collected. The rest of the blood is re-infused back to the donor’s body.

2. Why Apheresis is Performed

The major reason as to why apheresis is performed is to save the patient who lacks the specific blood component. Nonetheless, this exclusive medical procedure enables the recipient to attain a stable supply of blood products that are particularly needed. The specific blood components collected through the donation process tend to be more effective and much in number, making it more reliable in reducing a recipient’s exposure to blood from several donors compared to whole blood.

3. Donors of Apheresis

The Apheresis procedure can be performed on anyone. However, male individuals are the most preferred donors for the procedure. The biological explanation behind this is: Female individuals tend to lose a lot of blood during their menstrual cycles. For that reason, it goes without saying that males are better suitable for the procedure considering that they also have distinct veins from which blood can be easily drawn out.

4. Preparations for the Procedure

Basically, before the procedure, the donor ought to: Eat a balanced diet 2 – 4 hours preceding the medical procedure while limiting fluid intake. The donor should also present a list of any ongoing medications to the physician. This will enable the physician to decide on the type of apheresis to be performed on the donor. The function of all the afore-mentioned preparations is to make sure the entire procedure will be effective.

5. Amount of Blood Removed During Apheresis

The amount of blood removed will depend on the type of medical machine to be used in drawing out blood during the procedure. Basically, approximately 200 millimeters of blood is removed.

6. Time the Procedure Takes

Typically, the procedure takes approximately up to two hours. However, the time may vary from one donor to another, depending on the donor’s volume of blood.

7. Apheresis Experience

The procedure is painless. Research has it that most patients who’ve underwent apheresis feel tired after the procedure. However, it does not last for long for normal body activities resume after approximately 24 hours.

8. Side Effects

The side effects of apheresis include: dizziness and a little pain at the point where blood is withdrawn. A person who is sensitive to anti-coagulants feels some itchiness on the lips after the procedure. The side effects are short-term and have no particular effects on the donor’s health.

9. Frequency of Performance

The advisable time period for having another apheresis procedure done on the donor who had the same donation procedure is roughly 3-5 weeks. The period will depend on the donor’s overall health.

10. Advantages of Apheresis

An immense advantage of the medical procedure is the possibility of collecting high-quality plasma which can in turn be used to make several doses to the recipient. The unwanted components of blood are re-infused back to the donor’s bloodstream ensuring that no blood is wasted.


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