Skip to main content


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Blood Bank is located in the Clinical Center on the NIH campus at
10 Center Drive-MSC 1184
Building 10, Room 1C711
Bethesda, MD 20892-1184

(301) 496-1048


New Hours: Effective 1/2/18
Monday – Friday
7:30am – 4:30pm

Donate Blood Now


NIH Donor Center
At Fishers Lane
Rm 1S02, MSC 9415
5625 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20852

(301) 496-4321


DTM Logo


Granulocytes by Apheresis

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center (CC) collects and transfuses about 100 granulocyte products each year to treat patients with life-threatening infections and severely impaired white blood cell function.

What Is a Granulocyte?
A granulocyte is a type of white blood cell which fights bacteria and fungi. Patients with bone marrow failure syndromes, or those undergoing chemotherapy or marrow transplantation, often do not make enough of their own granulocytes to prevent serious infections. Such patients may benefit from a course of granulocyte transfusions.

What Is Granulocytapheresis?
Granulocytapheresis is the process by which granulocytes are collected from a healthy donor. Similar to plateletpheresis, blood is withdrawn from a vein and directed into a machine that contains a sterile disposable kit. Granulocytes are separated by a spinning process and concentrated in a plastic bag. The remaining parts of the blood are returned to the donor through a second needle.

Is Granulocytapheresis Safe?
Yes. The machine and the procedure used for granulocyte collection are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and all plastics and needles coming into contact with the donor are discarded after use. Two medications are given to the donor the day before collection to boost the donor's granulocyte count. These medications are approved for donor use under an NIH protocol. Please view a description of the granulocyte donor protocol.

Who Is Eligible to Give Granulocytes?
Granulocyte donors are healthy, unpaid volunteers between the age of 18 and 75 who meet the criteria for blood and platelet donors described in the link below. Granulocyte donors must meet some additional criteria described in the protocol (link above). Granulocyte donors should refrain from taking aspirin for 48 hours prior to donation. Please view a detailed description of donor criteria.

How Long Does Granulocytapheresis Take?
Giving granulocytes with use of an apheresis machine takes about 2.5 hours, which is slightly longer than a plateletpheresis donation. The donor has enough time to enjoy a full-length movie.

How Do I Arrange to Donate Granulocytes?
Call the NIH Blood Bank's Apheresis Coordinator at (301) 496-4321, who will be able to answer your questions and talk to you about steps to take to become a granulocyte donor.

NOTE: PDF documents require the free Adobe Reader.

This page last updated on 01/03/2018

You are now leaving the NIH Clinical Center website.

This external link is provided for your convenience to offer additional information. The NIH Clinical Center is not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of this external site.

The NIH Clinical Center does not endorse, authorize or guarantee the sponsors, information, products or services described or offered at this external site. You will be subject to the destination site’s privacy policy if you follow this link.

More information about the NIH Clinical Center Privacy and Disclaimer policy is available at