The need for plasma is very high and it is the most deficient product in Spain, that is why donating blood plasma can save many lives, just like conventional blood donation. If you are interested, in this post we give you all the information related to this type of donation.
What is plasma?
Plasma is the fluid in the blood in which red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are suspended. It is transparent and slightly yellowish, and represents around 55% of the total volume of our blood.
It is made up of water (90%), mineral salts and a large number of proteins, among which are:
· Clotting factors, responsible along with platelets, for stopping bleeding when we cut ourselves.
· The immunoglobulins, defenses that protect us from infections.
· The albumin, a protein that carries hormones and drugs and up into the tissues.
It is estimated that of the 5 liters of blood that an average person weighing 70 kilos has, approximately 3 liters are plasma.
There are two ways to obtain plasma:
· Through conventional blood donation: Later the blood is divided into its main components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma.
· Through specific plasma donations.
The centers where the two types of extractions are carried out are the same, but plasma donation has its own characteristics and uses.
Plasma transfusion is needed for those persons who:
· They have suffered major burns or a serious accident, to stop bleeding and regain blood volume.
· They require some of the proteins that plasma contains, as in the case of hemophiliacs, who can suffer large hemorrhages because they lack a protein that serves to clot the blood.
· Have problems with the immune system, since plasma is responsible for transporting defenses.
· Therefore, plasma can be used for direct transfusions and to make drugs, called "blood products", to treat diseases.
Some donations of plasma are requested from people who have had certain diseases and whose specific antibodies can help treat other patients.
At this time, the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in infected patients is currently considered experimental therapy, which is why randomized clinical trials are being promoted. A new hope to also fight against the coronavirus.
Requirements to donate plasma
If you want to donate plasma, you must meet the same requirements as to be a blood donor:
· Be between 18 and 70 years old.
· Weigh more than 50 kilos.
· Be healthy and, if you are a woman, not be pregnant.
All blood groups are valid, although group AB is the universal plasma donor, compatible with all recipients.
What is plasma extraction?
Donating plasma only or plasmapheresis consists of drawing blood, separating the blood cells using a cell separator, retaining the plasma and returning the rest to the donor by the same route.
This donation is made with a simple prick, such as a normal blood draw, without further complication.
In contrast, the plasma donation operation is longer, since it requires it to be separated from the other components of the blood.
In Spain these donations are always voluntary and altruistic, without financial compensation.
Differences from donating blood
There are two main differences between donating plasma and donating blood:
· Duration of extraction: Plasma donation compared to blood donation is longer. It lasts about 45 minutes, approximately.
· You can donate more times: Plasma donation can be done every 15 days and without the need for limits. You could donate up to 24 times a year, compared to 3 or 4 for a blood donor. The reason is that the body's ability to make plasma is much faster. In just a few days the amounts of proteins and mineral salts have been recovered.
If you have any questions about plasma donation, consult your trusted doctor. At AFEMEFA we have the best doctors and specialists to take care of your health.
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