About 55 percent of your blood is made up of plasma. It plays important roles in the body, like carrying waste products. Most of plasma, around 92 percent, is water. This water helps fill up blood vessels, so blood and nutrients can move through the heart.
The remaining 8 percent of plasma contains important materials like proteins, immunoglobulins, and electrolytes. When blood is separated, plasma looks like a yellowish fluid. Its main job is to carry nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need them.
Cells also put their waste into the plasma, which helps remove it from the body. Blood plasma is responsible for moving all parts of the blood throughout your circulatory system.
Plasma donation involves taking blood from a person, extracting the plasma, and then returning the rest of the blood back to the donor. This process is called plasmapheresis. It takes a bit longer than donating whole blood, but since only plasma is donated, a larger volume of blood plasma can be collected, allowing people to donate more often.
People with AB blood type have a special kind of plasma that is universal, meaning anyone can safely receive it. In emergencies, patients can quickly receive this plasma, which can be crucial for saving lives.
During an AB Elite donation, a person gives plasma, which is used to treat patients in emergencies. AB plasma can be given to anyone, regardless of their blood type. The plasma is collected through an automated process that separates it from other blood components. Then, the person’s red blood cells and platelets are safely returned to them. AB Elite allows for a maximum donation and only takes a few extra minutes compared to donating blood.
Who can donate?
To be a plasma donor, you should be at least 18 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds (50kg). Before your donated plasma can be used to make plasma protein therapies, you must go through two medical examinations, a medical history screening, and get tested for transmissible viruses. Plasma is collected at certain donation centers.
AB Plasma is used to help stop bleeding in emergency and trauma situations.
The donation process takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Ideal blood types for donation are AB positive and AB negative.
You can donate plasma every 28 days, up to 13 times a year.
Why Do They Check Your Elbows When Donating Plasma?
Usually, blood is taken from a vein inside the elbow or from the back of the hand. Before that, a trained staff member will do a finger-prick test to check protein and hemoglobin levels in your blood. Hemoglobin test helps see how much hemoglobin is in your blood. It’s used to check for low red blood cell levels, which is called anemia. This is done every time you donate plasma.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and possible blood shortages in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed the guidelines. They reduced the waiting time from 12 months to 3 months for some people, including:
- Men who had sex with men (MSM)
- Women who had sex with MSM
- People who got recent tattoos and piercings
- Those who traveled to areas with malaria
Also, before, people at risk of having CJD or those with a family member with the condition couldn’t donate blood. But now, the FDA suggests that those previously unable to donate blood for this reason can try again.