Youngsters serve through platelet donation


BANGALORE: For techie Tej Kumar, 30, donating platelets and blood is the new mission. "The minute I get to know that someone of my blood group (B+) is looking for blood or platelets, I rush there to help," he says, who's been doing this for the past three years.

It was when his grandmother was suffering from cancer that he realized the huge requirement of blood for surgery. "I don't make any extra effort to keep myself fit as I'm healthy. Even if there's no requirement, once in three months I donate blood," says Tej, who is registered with several blood banks and one of many youngsters serving the society with their blood.

Platelet donation is a little different than blood donation. In Single Donor Platelet (SDP), blood is taken from the donor and platelets are separated from it and the rest is pumped back into the donor. This procedure lasts between 2 hours and 2.5 hours.

"Cancer patients undergo chemotherapy and soon after it, they under go blood transfusion which energises them. In most cases, patients would not know the donors, but I see gratitude and relief in their faces," says Santhosh Agadi, a businessman from Kodihalli and regular volunteer at Manipal Hospital.

Rakesh Dhanya, a 28 year old techie working with a German based IT Company has been donating platelets for the past four years. "This is the easiest thing I can do for needy people around me. Only when you see someone donating blood, you understand its value," says Rakesh who is associated with Sankalp India Foundation, a network of blood banks in Karnataka.

Normal persons do not require platelet donations, unless the platelet count goes below 10,000 per microlitre. Those undergoing chemotherapy require platelets, as post-chemotherapy the number of platelet in their bone marrow decreases.

Apheresis platelet donation

The Greek word 'Apheresis' means 'to take away'. In Apheresis platelet donation, platelets are taken out from the blood and the other blood components are pumped back into the body. This is the new method of platelet transfusion where only one donor is involved. "Apheresis platelet donation is an essential part of treatment for patients suffering from cancer, or any life-threatening disorder," says Dr C Shivram, chief of transfusion services, Manipal Hospital.

According to Dr Shivram, in dengue or any viral fever cases, platelet donation must not be done unless the platelet count goes below 10,000. "As per World Health Organizationguidelines, platelet donation can be done only in cases of excess bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal tract or urinary tract. In many cases, doctors are pressurized to conduct platelet transfusion," said Dr Shivram.

Platelet donors

Any person is in good health, weighing 60-65 kgs and between 18 and 60 years is eligible for platelet donation. In SDP, the blood group of donors has to be the same as the recipient, whereas in conventional method, platelets are drawn from any blood sample. After three days of SDP, the donor will rejuvenate himself with equal number of platelets. Blood donation can also be done after three days.