What is plasma donation

What is plasma?

Blood plasma is a light yellow fluid in which all blood cells are suspended. Plasma consists of 92% water, 7% protein, 1% fat, carbohydrates and trace elements and can be separated from blood cells by centrifugation. Coagulation factors and immunoglobulins and antibodies constitute some of the important plasma proteins.

Who need plasma or plasma products?

Plasma is used for several essential clinical applications; some life-saving operations are only possible with transfusion of large amounts of plasma. Plasma preparations with a high content of coagulation factors are needed for the care of patients with bleeding disorders, and plasma product enriched for antibodies (immunoglobulin) are used to treat patients with impaired immune system and patients with certain autoimmune diseases.

Some specialized products are collected from individuals with a high content of a particular antibody, such as the anti-D, that is used to prevent haemolytic disease for the foetus and newborn. The plasma product, which will be developed by the PROFNAIT consortium is a similar type of product with a high content of anti-HPA-1a and is meant for prevention of foetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT).

How is plasma collected?

Plasma donation is carried out with a special machine, a plasma separator. From the donor’s vein blood is drawn into the plasma separator which by centrifugation and filtration separate plasma from the blood cells. The plasma is collected in a bag while all the blood cells are returned to the donor. Around 600 ml of plasma is collected and the procedure takes about 45 minutes.

Where and how often you can donate?

All plasma is collected at centres in the USA, Germany, Norway and Sweden which comply with the national health regulations. Since the body rapidly replenish the blood plasma that has been collected, it is possible to donate plasma several times a month, as opposed to ordinary blood donation which can only be carried out up to four times a year.