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Plasma Donations: The Gift of Life

January 27, 2021 | Paragon Hemophilia

Written by Ashley Smith, RN, MSN, CRNI
Did you know that a component of your blood could be used to create life-saving medicine for someone else? It is true! Read the full article to learn more about plasma donations and the gift of life.
Plasma Donations (fb Art)

Did you know that a component of your blood could be used to create life-saving medicine for someone else? It is true! Many people who have chronic diseases and/or serious injuries or illnesses rely on special medication made with plasma. When the blood cells are removed, a straw-colored liquid substance remains. Though some refer to it as “liquid gold,” this yellow substance is called plasma. Plasma is made up of about 90% water but is full of proteins used to help patients in need.

 

Not all donors are the same, and so not all plasma is the same. All donors have antibodies, but sometimes specific antibodies are needed to help fight certain illnesses. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system when it finds harmful things like viruses. People with a large number of specific antibodies may be called special donors. Currently, those infected with COVID-19 may be considered special donors and are being asked to donate plasma to treat patients who are likely to catch the virus.

 

Plasma can be used to help fight chronic diseases as well. Plasma is used to make clotting factors for those who have bleeding disorders. It can be used to make immunoglobulin or IVIG to help those with conditions requiring immune support. Plasma can also be used to:

  • Make medicine for genetic emphysema
  • Treat rabies
  • Treat pregnant women who have Rh incompatibility
  • Treat patients with extensive burns, who have gone through major trauma, or who are having surgery

 

 

Fun fact: It takes donations from thousands of donors to make IVIG!

 

After receiving a plasma donation, laboratories intensely screen the plasma for blood-borne illnesses such as HIV, hepatitis, and so forth. If a blood-borne disease is found, the plasma is destroyed. Even though this in-depth screening process may decrease the amount of available plasma, it is necessary to keep the people who need this medicine safe.

 

Donating plasma, like donating blood, is safe but could result in minor side effects. Since plasma is made up of mostly water, sometimes a person could get dehydrated after donation. This side effect is usually not severe. Donors could feel dizzy or lightheaded after donation since plasma is rich in nutrients and salts. Loss of nutrients and salts can also cause a feeling of fatigue but subsides soon after. The most common side effect of donating plasma is bruising and/or discomfort at the site where the needle enters the skin. For many, bruises will go away within a few days or weeks.

 

The sad truth is that many people are eligible to give plasma, but only a small percentage actually donate. Be the change! Contrary to what you may believe, plasma donations do not take all day long. You can be in and out of the donation center in about 2 hours for the first donation and about 45 minutes for each time after that. Eligibility for donation may vary by each plasma donating site, but most require the donor to be at least 18 years of age and weigh at least 110lbs. The donor will need valid identification and will be required to complete an eligibility screening. In some instances, you could even be paid for your donation!

 

It is easy to find a plasma donating center, thanks to internet searching. The American Red Cross accepts plasma donations as well as BPL Plasma centers. Some drug manufacturers such as Grifols, Octapharma, and CSL host their own plasma donation sites. However, the easiest way to find a center is to visit www.donatingplasma.org and type in your location.

 

To learn more about the plasma-based therapies that Paragon provides, such as bleeding disorder therapies or immunoglobulin therapies, please reach out to us at info@paragonhealthcare.com.

 

For more information about Paragon Healthcare, visit our website at https://paragonhealthcare.com/.

 


References:

 

DonatingPlasma.org (n.d.) Why? Retrieved from https://www.donatingplasma.org/why

 

Adma Biologics (2020). What is Plasma? Retrieved from https://www.admabiologics.com/plasma-ivig

 

CSL Plasma (n.d.). Donation Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.cslplasma.com/why-donate

 

Cirino, E. (2018). Side Effects of Donating Plasma. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/donating-plasma-side-effects

 

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The Paragon Healthcare, Inc. blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or someone you know has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional treatment because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.
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