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Old 11-16-08, 09:06 AM   #1
DiabloScott
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Donating Blood Cells

Yesterday I gave blood the regular way. Always makes me feel rotten for a couple days but it's important to me so I schedule it for a sensible time.

But they have this new thing that lets you donate DOUBLE the red blood cells and they put most of the blood back into you. It's not the same as the platelet donation thing that takes an hour, this thing (ALYX) only takes about 15 minutes longer than regular blood donation. They were pushing me to do the ALYX instead of whole blood.

http://www.bloodcenters.org/donating...e_redcells.htm


So I'm SURE losing twice as many RBCs as usual would have a performance impact but I'd kind of like some personal stories. Has anyone else done this? How long before you're back to normal?

On the positive side, it helps more people who need the RBCs, it's ready faster, and it uses a SMALLER NEEDLE. The nurse also said it would make me feel LESS rotten since my symptoms are probably from losing fluids.

Last edited by DiabloScott; 11-18-08 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 11-16-08, 10:55 AM   #2
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Pretty crazy how advanced science is getting, I wonder if they'll at some point be able to scrub out abnormalities, virus's. That would be pretty cool.
+1 on the Blood donation...That's pretty important.
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Old 11-17-08, 08:53 PM   #3
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Fatigue and blah might be noticeable for those who on the lighter side of 160 lbs.

Up until about age 33, I was able to give, and felt a bit tired at bedtime, but it didn't interrupt traning, even when swimming 2+ hours/day, etc.

I gave the max every year for almost eighteen years.

Can't say how it would effect me now, on account of when the "rules" for cancer changed (if no chemo or radiation, no recursion after ten years, you're good to go!), the blood bank tightened up on something else, oh well... but that one time, three years ago, I ate and drank well midday, after a morning blood letting, then got a good mountain bike ride in, some 27 miles and over 4,000 ft., and a short swim, 1200 yards, but felt very tired after cooling off.

Giving blood is good for you! I wish I could still give... no dice.
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Old 11-18-08, 01:27 PM   #4
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I'm a long time donor and started with the double red program a couple of years ago. The procedure takes about 25 minutes (for me). I got the impression from the folks at the blood center that they really value this type of donation. I'm O-, so I'm pretty popular with them anyway.
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Old 11-18-08, 02:21 PM   #5
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I'm a long time donor and started with the double red program a couple of years ago. The procedure takes about 25 minutes (for me). I got the impression from the folks at the blood center that they really value this type of donation. I'm O-, so I'm pretty popular with them anyway.

OK thanks. Sorry to repeat or rephrase the question, but please compare your recovery time and any other effects between donating whole blood and donating double RBCs.

Yeah, they really try to push that ALYX thing. I'd like to help them out, I mean that's what I'm there for... but if it's two weeks before I get my sprint* back that's a little too much to ask.

* I don't really have a detectable sprint as far as an outside observer could tell.
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Old 11-18-08, 05:14 PM   #6
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The blood centers seem to be really in need right now. I keep getting calls from the Blood Center to donate but I have to keep telling them that when I tried in September I was borderline anemic and very likely have Thalassemia.
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Old 11-20-08, 09:37 AM   #7
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i have never had a problem recovering from either whole blood or double red cells. I'm 6'6" 215 lbs - I don't know if that makes a difference or not.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:23 PM   #8
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I used to donate blood every 2-3 months but now I don't weigh enough.
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Old 11-22-08, 05:40 PM   #9
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I'd like to donate fat, but nobody's buying.
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Old 11-22-08, 06:54 PM   #10
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I attempted to post a reply in this thread twice and it hasn't shown up. So bear with me if I end up with 3 replies. I won't retype everything I wrote, but I just want to say that you're braver than I am if you willingly consent to have your blood taken this way, that is, removed, separated and pumped back into you... just for the sake of blood donation. It sounds almost like a kind of single-needle mini-dialysis. Been there done that - on self-administered hemodialysis for a few years.

While it's being presented to donors as some kind of big advantage to them, it's really more a matter of being cheaper and more convenient for the blood collection agencies, while being more risky for the donor. It may be rare, but some nasty things can happen to blood when it's pumped through a machine and then back into you. I personally am not sure these systems have been studied and tested enough. If you're a regular blood donor, they are still ending up with the same amount of red blood cells from you, the only difference being that they see you once instead of twice in a given period of time.
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Old 11-22-08, 07:11 PM   #11
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Nothing is 100% safe in life, but I've been doing pheresis (platlet donation) for 30 years. The newer machines are very sophisticated and the plumbing they use is a completely closed system, one-time use (obviously). Of course they have to put a needle in each arm, but you do get to watch a movie! (takes about 2 hours). So, movie, warm blankets, coffee and pastries - life is good.
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Old 11-28-08, 09:03 AM   #12
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"Sprint" is not dependent on your cell count, is it? Not as dependent at your threshold level anyway.

Give; it's good for you.
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Old 11-28-08, 11:17 PM   #13
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i donated until i had a nasty encounter with a tech that decided it would be really good to poke right through the huge muscle (from tennis, working out, and bowling) i had on the side of my elbow joint. yeah not donating blood with them again...

A+ blood isnt in high need anyhow. they always want me to donate marrow... maybe if they gave me more than some stale cookies and a t-shirt...

edit: dont ever donate with Bloodsource. Totally unprofessional. Blood Center of the Pacific was my best experience.
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Old 12-05-09, 07:17 PM   #14
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OK, topping my own year-old thread.
Today I gave my third double-RBC donation since my OP. I do notice a bit longer recovery time, like a few weeks for strenuous efforts (sprinting and intervals)... but in general I feel better after double RBC than a unit of whole blood.

They always check your hematocrit before donating to make sure you have enough (with whole blood they just check your iron). Today I asked them to check afterward too, to see how much it dropped.

Result:

Pre-donation HCT=42.0,
Post-donation HCT=36.6

My gift to humanity.
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Old 12-05-09, 09:00 PM   #15
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Good for you Scott. It's been one of the things I'd like to do, but I'm pretty sure that I'm still barred from doing this as a UK resident during the "mad cow" years. (no, nothing to do with Margaret Thatcher).
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Old 12-05-09, 09:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
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OK, topping my own year-old thread.
Today I gave my third double-RBC donation since my OP. I do notice a bit longer recovery time, like a few weeks for strenuous efforts (sprinting and intervals)... but in general I feel better after double RBC than a unit of whole blood.

They always check your hematocrit before donating to make sure you have enough (with whole blood they just check your iron). Today I asked them to check afterward too, to see how much it dropped.

Result:

Pre-donation HCT=42.0,
Post-donation HCT=36.6

My gift to humanity.
Wow. That's quite a drop. My HCT ranged from 39-41... borderline anemic. They wouldn't take any when it was at 39, but they did when it was at 41.
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Old 12-06-09, 12:46 AM   #17
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I wish I could give double RBCs but my hematocrit is never quite high enough for that, so I just give the single-serving size.
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Old 12-06-09, 01:45 AM   #18
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Wow. That's quite a drop. My HCT ranged from 39-41... borderline anemic. They wouldn't take any when it was at 39, but they did when it was at 41.
Normal results vary, but in general are as follows:
  • Male: 40.7 - 50.3%
  • Female: 36.1 - 44.3%
Next time I'll ask what the minimum is for double RBC.

I asked her for an estimate and she thought maybe a 3 or 4 point drop so she was kind of surprised too. I was surprised no one had ever asked before.

I didn't ride today, but last time I donated I would go from easy pace to max HR in just a few seconds during a green light sprint... an odd sensation, very similar to riding at altitude.

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Old 12-06-09, 04:45 PM   #19
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I'd like to donate fat, but nobody's buying.
If only we could sell it to some boutique soap company.
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Old 12-06-09, 06:46 PM   #20
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Next time I'll ask what the minimum is for double RBC.
It's 40, both for men and for women. I think 40 is also the minimum for men to donate a single unit.

For women, the minimum to donate a single unit is 38. Even though it's well above the cutoff for women, the rationale for 40 instead of 38 for women to donate double red cells is because women don't replenish iron as quickly as men.

To donate double cells women also have to weigh at least 150 lbs. Which at the moment isn't a problem for me ...

Ed to add: I just looked it up on the Blood Centers of the Pacific website. To donate double red cells women have to be at least 5'5" and 150 lbs (heh, I guess that means they don't want us too overweight ) and men have to be at least 5'1" and 130 lbs. Both with a 40% hematocrit.

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Old 12-06-09, 06:53 PM   #21
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By the way, I'm scheduled to donate this coming Wednesday after work at the RWC blood center (assuming I don't come down with the creeping crud like I thought I was earlier today).

Anything anyone would like me to find out while I'm there?
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Old 12-06-09, 07:30 PM   #22
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I had started to donate every time they came around at work, but now that I'm on Warfarin they don't have a need for blood that won't clot. Before that I'd been turned down for a while for going to Kenya. I think they used to like getting A- from me.
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Old 08-10-10, 10:34 AM   #23
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Did it again.
Asked a few more questions this time.
At the Diablo Valley Blood Center they have an iron measuring instrument and they said that hematocrit = three times the iron measurement. I checked this out and found that while that's not EXACTLY true, it's accurate enough for most people in most situations.

Generally accepted anemic value: 10 = 30hct
Minimum iron to donate whole blood: 12.5 = 37.5hct (maybe she only told me the value for men, or maybe there's no difference)
Minimum iron to donate double reds: 13.3 = 39.9hct
In my December appointment I dropped 5.4 hct points (42.0 to 36.6)
Donated in April too but I didn't write down any values; felt effects for three weeks again.
In my August appointment I dropped 5.1hct points (43.8 to 38.7)

and I feel much less effect - maybe because the lower value is higher, maybe because I ate better afterwards - they said to take vitamin C and eat spinach (or clams... but uh-uh); Mary's Pizza Shack has a great spinach salad!

They're having a free raffle to win a Smart Car if you donate before the end of August - rides for everybody if I win!

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Old 08-11-10, 07:51 AM   #24
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I've been donating platelets for the last several months -- somehow I managed to get on the platelet donor list so my friendly neighborhood vampires call me once a month or so.

The recovery time for platelet donation is much shorter than the recovery time for whole blood donation, mainly because you lose very few red blood cells in the apheresis procedure.

That said, platelet donation takes longer than a standard blood donation. I gave a double batch of platelets a couple of weeks ago, and it took nearly two hours from the time I arrived to the time I finished off my last Oreo cookie and was ready to leave. I schedule my donation for late afternoon so that's no biggie for me.
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