HEALTH

New platelet storage program could save lives, Red Cross says

Jun 20, 2024, 11:00 AM | Updated: 3:27 pm

donating platelets at the American Red Cross on April 12, 2023. Murray facility approved for cold-s...

donating platelets at the American Red Cross on April 12, 2023. Murray facility approved for cold-storage platelet program. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

(Michael Swensen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The American Red Cross has secured new funding to support its new cold-storage platelet program. They say being able to extend the shelf-life from five days to 14 could be a life-saving matter. 

“When you think about organ transplants, combatting conditions like cancer, chronic diseases, traumatic injury, platelets are needed to be basically transfused for those patients. So, they are able to deal with those types of surgeries and injuries,” said Executive Director of the Red Cross’s Salt Lake Chapter, Jeremiah Lafranca.

The Murray donation center is one of three locations in the entire country approved for this pilot program. The funding will go toward five new refrigeration units that will extend the shelf life of platelets from five to 14 days. This could be especially important for transportation to rural communities.

“It gives it an extended shelf life which allows us to have basically a greater impact for like instance more rural hospitals to be stocked and prepared with platelet inventory in case of emergencies,” said Lafranca

 These new refrigeration units could quadruple their daily production capacity for transfusions. They could expand their production capacity from 36 transfusions a day to 140. 

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New platelet storage program could save lives, Red Cross says