Double Red Cell Donation

What Is It?

Double red cell donation is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine is used to allow you to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning your plasma and platelets to you.

Why Should You Do It?

You may already know about the ongoing need for blood and the importance of your donations through the American Red Cross. Whole blood donations contain red blood cells, platelets, plasma and white blood cells. Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component and are needed by almost every type of patient requiring transfusion. If you meet certain criteria, double red cell donation allows you to safely donate two units of red cells during one appointment as an automated donation process. It is as safe as whole blood donation.

How Is a Double Red Cell Donation Different?

During your double red cell donation, blood is drawn from one arm and drawn through a sterile, single-use needle set to a machine. The machine separates and collects two units of red cells and then safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you through the same arm.

John - Double Red Cell Donor

John - Double Red Cell Donor

The Benefits

  • Save time and make your donation go further: If you are extremely busy, committed to donating blood and an eligible type O, A negative or B negative donor, double red cell donation may be ideal for you. Each procedure lets you give more of the product that is needed most by patients. Double red cell donation takes approximately 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation and you can donate approximately every four months.
  • Feel better: With all of your platelets and plasma returned to you along with some saline, you don’t lose the liquid portion of your blood and may feel more hydrated after your donation.

Am I Eligible to Donate?

In addition to meeting other whole blood donor qualifications, you must also meet specific criteria for donating double red cells, especially for hemoglobin, weight and height. The thresholds for each vary by gender as well as by the device used to collect the blood. A representative from the Red Cross in your area can provide you with the requirements for the collection device currently used.

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