What’s the difference between donating blood and plasma and how does this impact your donating choices and requirements? Read more to find out.
Similarly to how blood group O is universal for blood donations (read more about the blood groups here), AB plasma is in high demand because it too is universal.
While the requirements for donating blood VS plasma are similar, there are a couple key differences. For example, you can still donate plasma if:
- you have travelled to or come from a Malaria area
- you are on anti-platelet medication such as aspirin and anti-inflammatories
Why is donating plasma important?
For many people with rare diseases and chronic conditions, plasma-based therapies are the only way to treat their condition or disease.
Plasma is also given to trauma patients and burn victims to help with blood clotting and to boost their blood volume, which can prevent and treat shock. For example, 1 200 plasma donations will treat someone with haemophilia for just one year. Read more about haemophilia here.
What is the process of donating plasma?
You will undergo the normal screening process for blood donation (Read more about that here). Once accepted, a high-tech machine is used to safely and quickly collect your plasma.
The machine separates some of your plasma from the rest of the blood components. The plasma is collected into a bag. The other components of the blood such as red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells are returned to your body.
The plasma collection set is disposable and is used only once. At the end of the procedure some saline (sterile salt water) is infused into your blood to compensate for the around 650ml of plasma collected (the process takes about an hour).
You can find a list of plasma donation centres in South Africa here.
For any information or questions, contact your medical doctor.