Over the past year, many have been writing about the blood supply shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While blood donations are still needed more than ever, something that hasn’t received as much attention, but is equally important, is the critical need for plasma donations.
What Is Plasma?
Plasma is the part of the blood that contains clotting factors and albumin. This plasma is circulated through the body to help fight infection, burns, and many other illnesses. Plasma has been used to treat patients for over 50 years. The medicine produced from plasma given by donors is more than just a saline solution. It is actually a complex, balanced solution used to treat many illnesses.
What Is Plasma Used For?
Plasma is used by patients that have various diseases, including:
- Sickle Cell Disease
Plasma donation is different from a whole blood donation in that there are fewer donors, and fewer donations are needed. Blood donors are needed every two to five weeks, but plasma donors can give every two months. This makes plasma donations a much easier commitment and a less time-consuming process.
How Is It Donated?
Plasma can be donated by a process known as plasmapheresis. This is more commonly referred to as a plasma donation. It takes about 90 minutes to complete the entire process. This 90 minutes is broken down like this:
First, your blood is drawn and then sent through a machine that separates your plasma from all the other components. This is important because the plasma, once separated from all the other components, is collected and will be made into life-saving medication.
After this is done, you are hooked up to a small machine that will increase the pressure in your blood vessels and cause them to widen. This also causes the plasma to move from the main vein into a smaller vein. The machine then draws the plasma out of the smaller vein and into a collection bag. This entire process is done with the assistance of a specially trained nurse.
Plasmapheresis can be done at one of the donor centers near you. If you are not near a donor center, you can have plasmapheresis done at your local blood center.
What Is the Average Number of Donations Needed for Plasma?
Each patient’s situation is unique, but the average number of plasma donations needed depends on each patient’s needs. The number of donations needed tends to vary from one to three per week.
Certain collection centers donate to a plasma bank, which means that those plasma donations go directly to the banks for processing. If you are interested in donating plasma for this type of donation, you will only need to donate one to two times per year.
Plasma donation is a simple process that can save the lives of many patients that need it. All it takes is a few hours of your time and some blood. Donating plasma is also a commitment to a regular blood donation every two months, but it is a much easier and less time-consuming process. If you are at least 18 years old and in good health, you can be a plasma donor.
There is no doubt that plasma donations are essential to patients, but it is also important to understand that the need for plasma donations continues. If you are interested in becoming a plasma donor, call your local blood bank, or use the search tool to find a donor center near you.
thplasma is a plasma donation center in New Jersey proudly steeped in community, driven by innovation, and guided by genuine care for our donors. We treat every employee and donor as part of our family, sharing our passion for saving lives. Donate plasma and get compensated today.