Apheresis

If you have Type AB blood, then Plasma Apheresis is for you.

What is Plasma Apheresis?

  • A special kind of blood donation that allows you to give just
    one part of your blood – plasma, the golden fluid containing
    the important elements that help your blood clot and keep
    your immune system strong.

Who Uses Plasma?

  • Transplant and trauma patients need plasma.
  • As organ transplants become more common, the need for
    plasma is growing.
  • Some transplant or trauma patients may require as many as
    100 transfusions to stop bleeding and prevent infection.
  • Burn victims are particularly dependent on plasma. Without
    plasma they are in danger of developing bleeding disorders.
  • Plasma can also be fractionated for clotting factors and other proteins. One donation of
    plasma can help save many lives.

Why Should I Donate Plasma?

  • Advances in medical technology and treatments would not be possible without plasma; but
    there is still no way to manufacture it. Plasma must come from dedicated donors.
  • If you have Type AB blood, you have something shared by only a few Americans – only 4%
    of the population has it. And, it is the universal plasma type. That means your plasma can be
    transfused to anyone in the event of an emergency. And emergencies are when plasma is
    most often needed.
  • One apheresis plasma donation can provide three to four times the amount of plasma
    contained in a traditional whole blood donation.

Can I Ever Donate Whole Blood Again?

  • Yes. As a general guideline, a donor may donate one whole blood donation and one plasma
    donation within any eight week period. You may be eligible to donate whole blood just 28
    days after a plasma donation.

Who Can Give Plasma?

  • Plasma donors must be at least 17 years old and 110 pounds.
  • Donors must be in general good health the day of their donation.
    Plasma Donor Wilton Alston helps save up to
    four lives with each donation

How Does a Plasma Apheresis Donation Work?

  • Specially trained Red Cross Staff conduct the donation and fully explain the process to you
    prior to your first donation.
  • The pre-donation process (answering the health questions) is the same as a traditional whole
    blood donation.
  • The process uses a smaller needle than a traditional whole blood donation.
  • The component collection system draws blood from your arm through sterile tubing into a
    cell separator. The self-contained sterile tubing assures that your blood never comes in
    contact with the machine.
  • The blood components that are not used are returned to you through the same arm along with
    an anticoagulant to prevent clotting and saline to replenish lost fluids.
  • The entire process is about 1 – 1 ½ hours for most donors. To pass the time, you can watch
    TV, choose a movie from our collection, or bring your favorite movie with you.

How Much Plasma Will My Body Lose?

  • One plasmapheresis donation removes about 1.7 pints of plasma. Since the average donor has
    about 10 to 12 pints of blood, the fluid loss is minimal.
  • Plasma replenishes itself within 72 hours, allowing donors to give up to 12 times per year.

Are There Any Side Effects?

  • Plasma donors report very few side effects.
  • It is recommended that you avoid heavy lifting for 24 hours after your donation.
  • Some donors feel a slight tingling around their lips or nose. This is a mild response to the
    anticoagulant used when the blood is returned to your body and can be quickly alleviated
    with calcium. If this sensation occurs, the staff will give you a calcium supplement like
    Tums®.
  • Should you feel a slight chill, our staff will bring you a blanket and/or heating pad to make
    you more comfortable.

How Do I Become a Plasma Apheresis Donor?

  • Fill out a donor request card today. You will be contacted by our Scheduling Department
    shortly.
  • To assure the highest level of service, and to make sure that there is enough plasma to meet
    patient need every day, plasma donations are by appointment only. Please bring your
    driver’s license or donor card with you to every donation. Patients are counting on donors
    to honor their commitment.