Rebecca Cardigan, BSc, PhD; Sheila Maclennan , MBBS, FRCP, FrCPath


Transfusion Alter Transfusion Med. 2008;10(3):92-101. 

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Collection of Blood Components by Apheresis

Apheresis, from a Greek word meaning 'to take away', is an alternative to producing blood components from whole blood donations by selectively collecting one or more components directly from donors and returning the rest to the circulation. Automated apheresis can be used to collect platelets, plasma, red cells or granulocytes, and more specialized products, such as stem cells. The main emphasis in the past has been the collection of platelets and plasma components, with red cells being returned to the donor. The size and complexity of the equipment, as well as welfare of the donor, has previously necessitated this activity to take place in static clinics. However, smaller portable machines are now available that can be used on mobile sessions to collect red cells, platelets and plasma. The main advantage of apheresis collections are that more than one dose of platelets or red cells can be collected from one donor per donation, thus reducing patient exposure to multiple donors. In addition, the hematocrit and hemoglobin content of red cells is much more consistent than those produced from whole blood donations, which vary considerably because of the variation in hematocrit of whole blood in different donors.


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