Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Can You Get a Blood Clot From Donating Plasma?

Q: My sister swears she got a blood clot in her leg after donating plasma. She even had to have surgery to remove the clot. Now she wants to sue Talecris plasma for health damages. I've donated plasma before, but never suffered a blood clot. Is this true, can your blood get clotted, or is it just a load of BS?

Answer: No, it's impossible to get a blood clot during plasma donation. The anti-coagulant prevents blood clots in your arms, legs, and thighs. The funny, cold feeling you get when you donate plasma during the blood return? It's anti-coagulant. Anticoagulant prevents pulmonary embolisms, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis 99.9% of the time.

Here is the percent chance of getting a blood clot during plasma donation:

DVT (deep vein thrombosis blood clot in arms or legs): .0009%
Pulmonary Embolism (blood clot in the lungs): .00008%
Stroke (blood clot blocking tissue in the brain): .000006%
Superficial Thrombophlebitis (blood clot in the skin): .001%

Can I Donate Plasma With a Family History of Stroke?

Just because you have a family history of blood clots and stroke, doesn't mean you have a high chance of getting a stroke. If you do have a family history, however, make sure you don't smoke for 1 hour before donating plasma, as this increases the chance of blood clots.

Also, squeeze your stress ball when donating, and tell the Phlebotomist right away if you have tingling in your arms, legs, and feet, numbness, or it feels like your legs are very hot or falling asleep.

These are all signs of blood being blocked to the tissues of your body, or  a blood clot forming in your small veins. If you feel these weird symptoms, you need to go to the hospital right away.

Can I Donate Plasma With a Blood Clotting Disorder?

Donating plasma is relatively safe, unless you have a clotting disorder like creutzfeldt-jakob disease, Factor V deficiency, Antithrombin Deficiency, Low Protein C or S, or are hypercoaguable. It's important to be honest when answering the screening questions. They ask if you have blood clotting disorders on the screening test, so don't lie, it could kill you!

They also ask if you take blood thinning medication such as Warfarin, which causes uncontrollable bleeding during plasma donation. Overall, plasma donation centers are still in business because they're safe enough not to be sued, so it's highly unlikely you'll develop a blood clot when donating plasma.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to Lower Your Heart Rate to Donate Plasma

Having a high heart rate causes over 90% of plasma donation deferrals. If your blood pressure rate is higher than 85/15, you will be deferred from donating plasma for the rest of the day. When you run to the center because your car broke down, or you can't stop thinking about that horror movie you saw last night, your heart rate rises.

Here's how to lower your heart rate to donate plasma:
  1. Leave your stress at the door. Stress creates high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart beat fast. Before going into the plasma center, focus yourself. Forget about your stress, marriage, job, money troubles - just concentrate on donating plasma. Then walk in.
  2. Wait 15 minutes before going back to the testing center. Sit in the little plastic chair a while. Watch some grainy TV. Listen to donors get called. You'll be more relaxed, and your heart rate will slow down.
  3. Breathe deeply while you're waiting to be tested. Do this while you're waiting to be called back. Breathing deeply is a great relaxation technique.
  4. IMPORTANT: breathe deeply while the pressure cuff is on your arm. Breathe in. Wait. Breathe out. Wait. Breathe deeply and slowly. Your heart rate will fall to a good level for donation.
  5. Optional: think happy, relaxing thoughts while your blood pressure is being tested. Combine happy, relaxing thoughts with your breathing techniques.
  6. Relax your arm during testing. Think wispy willow, not sturdy tree trunk. I can't tell you how many donors didn't pass the heart rate test because their arm was too stiff. When you stiffen your arm, you put more pressure against the blood measuring cuff, and the test reads the heart rate higher.

 What Happens if I Fail the Heart Rate Test?

If you fail the blood pressure/heart rate test, you get to wait 15 minutes, and test again. If you fail the test the first time, breathe deeply, relax your body, and think relaxing thoughts before re-testing. If you fail the blood pressure test twice, you are deferred from donating for one day. You have to wait for another day to donate.

I've been donating plasma for 25 years. I use the techniques above, I've never been rejected because the donation center says my heart rate is too high. Just relax, breathe deep, and think about not having to get your finger pricked again tomorrow.

Does Blood Type Affect Platelet Donation Compensation?

There is normally a tremendous demand for A positive platelets. Platelets are most often used by leukemia patients. They control blood flow in your body and are used to stop bleeding associated with cancer and surgery.

AB Positive Blood Type

A donor with AB positive blood is the universal plasma donor. The Blood Center urges you to consider giving a plasma pheresis donation. Plasma carries clotting factors and nutrients. It is given to trauma patients, organ transplant recipients, newborns and patients with clotting disorders. AB negative donors are the. universal plasma donors. Plasma from AB type blood can be given to all patients needing a plasma transfusion regardless of their blood type. A Plasma pheresis donation is needed most from these donors.

O Negative Blood Type
O negative donors are the universal red blood cell donors. All patients can use o negative blood and it would be most beneficial for everyone if such donors took time to donate whole blood or double red cell apheresis. Red blood cells are used to carry oxygen to all cells. They are given to surgery and trauma patients and those with blood disorders such as anemia and sickle cell anemia.

A Negative Blood

Given the relatively few numbers of donors with the A negative blood type, patients are best served by a platelet pheresis donation.

Donating With B Positive Blood

B positive is a relatively rare blood group, so whole blood donations of this type are very important. B negative is also a relatively rare blood group. Giving whole blood or double red cell apheresis will help the most.
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