This page is taken from http://www.hoxworth.org/donate_blood/donate_double_reds.html on Hoxworth’s website. Please visit their site if you have any questions about eligibility, safety and how your donation will be used.
Donate Double Reds
Chances are if you are thinking about donating blood, you already understand the importance of helping others in need. All blood donations are important, but a “two-unit red cell donation” is special. It saves you time because you can safely give twice as much in just one visit to Hoxworth. You may be eligible to donate a double red cells because your blood type might be in demand based on our community’s blood supply level.
What are the donor requirements to give a double red cell donation?
For donors giving two units of red blood cells in one donation event, the deferral period will be extended from 56 to 112 days between donations. Donor eligibility for double red cell collection will be determined differently and will vary by sex.
All donors are required to have at least a 40% hematocrit (HCT), which is the percentage of red blood cells in the total volume of whole blood (whole blood = red cells + plasma).
Is collecting two units of red blood cells from the same donation safe?
Donor and patient safety are our top priorities. Like whole blood, the process uses a sterile, single-use needle and tubing set. Also, the automated system is designed specifically to assure you do not give too much blood. While you are donating two units of red cells, the total volume of the donation is slightly less than that of a single whole blood donation because we are returning the remaining components (platelets and plasma) and saline back to you.
Will I feel the same as when I donate whole blood?
You may even feel better. First, we return all your plasma and platelets, plus 500 mL of saline. This way, you never lose the liquid portion of your blood, which is responsible for carrying the nutrients throughout your body. Second, this procedure uses a smaller needle than whole blood collection, so double red cell donation may be more comfortable for you.
Does this procedure take longer than giving whole blood?
Yes. The donation of two units of red cells by this method takes approximately 35 minutes. Your entire visit will most likely take slightly longer than 60 minutes. Since two units are collected from you, you may serve twice as many patients with a single donation. With enough donors participating, the adequacy of the regional blood supply is significantly enhanced, which means fewer blood shortages. This may also fit into your schedule better, too. Because you are donating two units of red cells, you must wait 16 weeks, or 112 days, between donations. This is twice as long than a whole blood donation.
How does it work?
Blood is drawn from one arm and channeled through a sterile, single-use tubing kit to an automated machine. The automated system separates and collects the most needed components…in this case, two units of red blood cells…and then safely returns the remaining blood components back to you through the same arm.