Sunday, August 21, 2011

Double Red Blood Cell Donation

Last Tuesday I donated blood actually I did a double red cell donation. If you are not sure what that means, here is the definition:

Double Red Cell Donation
What is it?
Double red cell donation is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine is used to allow you to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning your plasma and platelets to you


During your double red cell donation, blood is drawn from one arm and drawn through a sterile, single-use needle set to a machine. The machine separates and collects two units of red cells and then safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you through the same arm.

Why am I posting on it, well I ran over the weekend and I got tired quickly during my run, my original intent was to get in a run up to 16 miles. I barely got through 3 miles before feeling exhausted with dead legs. The 3 miles felt like 12 miles, I muddled my way through 8 miles on Saturday and then tried again this morning, same issue almost immediately so I again just did 8 miles. So my question to myself  was, is this just related to the blood donation or do I have something else going on? Normally after giving blood, I take it easy for a day or so and have never noticed anything like this.

So in doing some follow-up research per the Red Cross, I can't give blood for 112 days versus the normal 56 days beyond that they don't say too much. In looking around the web, I saw that others seem to have said that they have had similar issues so I am guessing it is just a by product of the donation. In order to understand this better, I figure I will monitor my upcoming training and see how long before I feel normal on my runs. My guess is I will be back to normal within a few weeks.

Do I regret doing so, absolutely not. I have O+ blood (universal donor), it's always needed, I have always been able to donate and there are many people who can't donate so I always will.

Will I do the double red blood cell donation again? Absolutely.

14 comments:

Kel said...

Red blood cells are what carry oxygen to muscles and other tissues, so I'd say yes, a double RBC donation would explain your fatigue during exercise. Don't worry, your bone marrow is cranking out brand spankin' new cells right now and you'll be fresh as a daisy in no time :)

Kel said...

Oh! I forgot to mention - you probably saved someone's life by donating blood.

Harriet said...

It takes me 2-3 months to fully recover after double red cell donations. Therefore I try to do that one in December where it is too snowy to do hard training anyway. I am usually on the upswing by the time the snow clears.
During the summer I give whole blood (only sets me back a month or so and not as severely).

Mike said...

Guys. Thanks for this dialogue. I experienced exactly the same thing but at far shorter distances! I donated double reds yesterday...started my normal 3-mile this morning and my legs felt like lead in about 1/2 mile. Kel is right on with the explanation, too.

And yes, I'll do double reds again, too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the important information. I just double donated today for the first time and was wondering about a long run tomorrow. I will give it a try even if I will be a bit tired. I saved a life! Happy running all.

Anonymous said...

First off, thanks for the double red donation. However, I 'm going to be /that guy/ and point out that O+ is not a universal donor. You can't donate to an O-negative person. O-neg is actually the universal donor.

Anonymous said...

Because I go every two months there's no benefit to the blood center for me to do double red. I plan to do it next time so I won't be eligible through the summer. That said, the center staff couldn't explain some of the risks and in looking it up for myself I see that aside from immediate things like paresthesias, allergic reactions and embolisms, LONG-TERM health issues need more study. The apheresis process messes with your calcium metabolism big-time, and can over time cause bone loss (especially for women). Also there's some indications it may result in immunosupression over time. Unless you have some compelling reason to go less often, you may want to think twice about being a human guinea-pig for this new process. Just saying.

Bob said...

Bob said,

Went to give at Bloodmobile this week in Novi, MI. They said I could do double reds if I want. Gave platelets in So CA twenty years ago regularily. It has been three days and I am tired. I am a giver but think that I should have been told that I would be slower for week or two. If you have a physical job I suggest that you stick to basic one unit donating.
A slight shame on you Red Cross.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these comments are making me feel so much better as to why I am completely wiped out! I did a double donation two days ago and I can't believe how exhausted I am. No one at the Red Cross center warned me that I might feel this way. In fact, they said I would feel BETTER than after I give a regular donation of just one unit. I seriously thought I was going to pass out this morning at the gym during my usual routine. Thanks for all the comments, I feel better knowing it's normal and will just take it easy for a while. I'm kind of irritated that I was not warned about this exhaustion. Guess I'll go back to the regular donations. Thanks y'all!

mike smith said...

Thanks for the discussion, I went in for a donation two days ago and they asked me to do double red cell donation. I never thought about the training impact, but must say it hit me pretty hard. Took it slow the day after, but 3 miles felt harder than 5 should have. Second day about the same: i jogged rather than ran and did intervals to keep going for 6 miles. I have 5 weeks before my next half-marathon, my third: hopefully i'll be able to finish, but no longer confident that i can improve on my times from the first two. No regrets about the donation, but runners should be aware of what to expect.

Anonymous said...

Hey All - I've been donating double red for a couple years. Last Saturday was the most recent. For about a week after my donations, I experience general lethargy during my workouts. Fortunately, after about a week, things get back to normal. That week or so is tough, but well worth the price if it saves a life.

Runinhurt said...

I donated double red last Saturday and running has been difficult for the last couple of days. I forgot how much this knocks me back since the last time this happened I was training for a marathon. Usually do the regular donation every 6-7 weeks but they asked and I volunteered to do it. Glad I donated but sure slowing me down. Donating Platelets never slowed me down this much either.

Cap'n Bagel said...

I have been doing double red donations for several years now, but I am beginning to think I have experience what I would call an accumulating effect. I donated 3 weeks ago and then ran a marathon last Sunday with less than stellar results. I have noticed in my more recent marathons the ability to hold pace for only 4-6 miles before I have to back off from what should be a relatively comfortable pace. I am going to take a 6-month sabbatical from donating to see if I can regain some speed. Anyone else experience anything similar? I am also 61, so age could be playing into this as well. I am not taking any medication and feel healthy otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I recently donated a double red count and my mountain bike riding has gone to the tanks. I'm upset with myself in not researching more prior to doing the right thing but felt the Red Cross should have better information for high endurance athletes. Will I do it again? No - but I will continue to donate at normal levels.

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