The Red Cross Salt Lake laboratory is 1 of 3 Red Cross locations in the country piloting the cold-store platelet program.

Governor Spencer Cox and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have significantly enhanced the American Red Cross of Utah’s capacity to provide essential platelets, crucial for major surgeries and cancer treatment, with an extended shelf life ensuring hospitals’ ongoing supply.

Gov. Cox emphasized his commitment to enhancing platelet access for Utahns through state funding, stating, “I am honored to support the Red Cross of Utah in this initiative by investing in new equipment to improve the availability of lifesaving platelets, reflecting our dedication to public health.”

Utah DHHS allocated federal funds from the Hospital Preparedness Program for five refrigeration systems to store FDA-approved cold-stored platelets, extending their transfusion viability to 14 days compared to 5 days at room temperature. The installation of these systems earlier this month has significantly increased platelet production at the Red Cross Salt Lake City lab, now enabling the production of 120 to 140 platelet transfusions per day compared to the previous capacity of 36 daily transfusions. The Red Cross Salt Lake laboratory is 1 of 3 Red Cross locations in the country piloting the cold-store platelet program.

Tracy S. Gruber, DHHS executive director, voiced strong support for the Red Cross’s mission, stating, “This donation is a big step forward for the state’s preparedness efforts and support for rural communities. By investing in essential equipment, we ensure that Utah remains at the forefront of medical care for our citizens.”

Extended Platelet Viability and Impact on Healthcare Facilities

Platelets play a critical role in controlling bleeding during surgeries like organ transplants and in combating conditions such as cancer, chronic diseases and traumatic injuries. Despite their importance, platelets have a short lifespan of up to 5 days when stored at room temperature, requiring constant gentle agitation to prevent clumping. With a production and testing window of two days and an additional day for transportation, hospitals face immense pressure to use platelets within a tight timeframe.

Emphasizing the importance of the extended 14-day shelf life of Cold Store Platelets, Jeremiah Lafranca, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Utah Greater Salt Lake Chapter, highlighted its impact on smaller rural hospitals in maintaining adequate platelet inventories for emergencies. “The 14-day shelf life of cold-store platelets enables smaller, more rural hospitals to be stocked and prepared with platelet inventory in case of emergencies,” he said.

Donors can schedule platelet donations at the Layton, Lehi or Salt Lake Red Cross Donation Centers. Appointments can be made using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors visiting between June 10-30, 2024, will receive a $15 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice. For further details, please visit