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Bone marrow and platelets: learn how to be a donor

Bone marrow and platelets: learn how to be a donor

While blood donation is a widespread practice and known, there are still many doubts when it comes to donating bone marrow and platelets. However, these two forms are also very important and able to save lives. Clarify the most common questions and find out how easy it is to be a donor.

Bone Marrow Donation

Bone marrow is a liquid-gel tissue where all blood cells are produced. Transplantation is an alternative when the patient has some cancer, such as leukemia, lymphomas and other blood cancers, and the treatments proposed by the doctor do not reach the expected results.

Today, Brazil is the third largest donor in Brazil. world, falling behind only the United States and Germany. According to the Ministry of Health, the chance of finding a compatible marrow is 65%; in the 2000s it was only 10%.

But there is an aggravation in the country, as explained by the hematologist and director of the Department of Transfusion "Because we are a mixed-race country, the chances of someone finding a compatible marrow donor are lower than in countries like Japan, for example."

Blood Test - Photo: Getty Images

The register of bone marrow donors is very important because it is very difficult to get a compatible marrow and few patients get donors in the family. "Rarely does anyone get a compatible donor who is not a brother," says Fabio. Currently, there is an average wait of two to six months to find compatibility.

It is simple to donate: just go to a hemocenter and be between 18 and 55 years old, in addition to good health. Fábio explains that few diseases prevent the donation of marrow and this depends on the state of the patient. People with chronic controlled diseases, for example, may be donors.

For the registry, 5 ml of blood is taken to track genetic traits. The data are entered in the National Register of Bone Marrow Donor Volunteers (REDOME) and, whenever a new patient arises, the compatibility will be verified.

If there is a compatible recipient, the donor will be consulted to decide on the donation . Then he does some clinical tests to confirm his good health. There is no need for a change in lifestyle, work or food habits. "The collection of the marrow can be done through the pelvic bones, where a surgical procedure is needed, or through the blood." Both methods are safe and painless, says Fabio. Images

In addition to these two methods, progenitor cells can be obtained through the umbilical cord. "In some hospitals in the public network and in the private network, a freezing of the cord is done with the consent of the mother," says Fábio.

The volume withdrawn for donation is at most 15% of the marrow, which does not compromise the health of the donor. The donor will be able to perform the same procedure after one month.

Platelet donation

Platelet is an element of the blood responsible for coagulation and is something that is lacking mainly in patients who undergo chemotherapy or who have recently received transplantation of bone marrow, liver or heart. In normal blood donation, a plaque is usually withdrawn. However, every platelet transfusion needs seven of them!

Dr. Luciana Sampaio, from the transfusion medicine department of the Pró-Sangue Foundation, says that every donation is always welcome and at all times of the year. "We have some more critical periods, like holidays and school holidays," he says. The foundation receives 12,000 donations of blood per month, but only 400 of platelets.

To be a donor, in addition to the normal prerequisites of who will donate blood, it is required that the person has already donated blood in the last 18 months, make a prior appointment at the place where he intends to donate, and has not taken anti-inflammatories and aspirin last five days. "This is because these medicines make platelets not 100% effective, and the donor needs to have a good calibration in the vein, because even though we take a small amount - 250 ml against 450 ml of normal blood donation - it is still significant, "says Luciana.

At the time of donation, which lasts from 60 to 90 minutes, a platelet count test is done. After this, the transfusion to the patient should be performed in a maximum of five days. According to Luciana, all blood types are important, but the most requested are types O and A, because they are more frequent in the population.

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