Jeff Meyer, CEO of Northern California Blood Services.
The American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region is set to begin using an automated blood collection system – called ALYX – at its Oakland Blood Donation Center.
The ALYX Component Collection System ensures a steady and continuous blood supply for local patients by collecting two units of red blood cells from one donor. With the ALYX system, only red blood cells are collected; and the machine returns the other blood components – such as platelets and plasma – to the donor.
“Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood components,” said Jeff Meyer, CEO of Northern California Blood Services.
“ALYX allows people to safely double their red blood cell donations. So with each visit, donors can give more of what patients need the most,” he said.
Red blood cells are needed by almost every type of patient requiring a transfusion – including accident and trauma victims, and patients with blood disorders and other life-threatening diseases. Also, many patients – such as those suffering with sickle cell disease – require several red blood cell transfusions.
Double red cell donations are not a new concept. The Red Cross has been performing double red cell collection in the Northern California Region since 2002. But currently the agency has been using ALYX machines in this region only at mobile blood drives and the Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton and San Jose blood centers.
“We are looking to increase red blood cell collection in the Northern California Region,” Meyer said. “And by putting ALYX machines in more of our donor centers, we’re making it as convenient as possible for our donors to give those red blood cells. And that will help to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of patients in the Bay Area.”
In addition to meeting other blood donor qualifications, double red cell donors must also meet the following criteria. Men must be at least 5’1” and weigh at least 150 pounds. Women must be at least 5’5” and weigh at least 175 pounds. The machines are usually used for people with blood types O, A-negative or B-negative.
The local Red Cross region supplies blood to 30 Bay Area hospitals and must collect more than 300 pints of blood each day in order to meet hospital needs.
The Oakland Blood Donation Center is located at 6230 Claremont Ave. For information call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.