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.


  1. I Have to disagree with your straight forward answer of "No, you can not get a blood clot while donating plasma". Because this evening it happened to me. The blood clots were in the return lines and collection/return container. Several techs and nurses were right on top of the situation and had me stick around for a half an hour after my donation to make sure that I was alright. They advised me to watch for certain symptoms that would need further medical attention. The RN did say that it was rare for this to happen, but it can happen...

    1. I also just experienced a blood clot while giving plasma last night. They sent me home and said not to come back for 8 weeks. I saw the clot in the tubing. It is possible. It did seem rare as they weren't entirely sure what to do with me. I will not be going back .

    2. I got 2 blood clots in my lungs. Been giving plasma for 2 years 2 times per week. I am otherwise healthy and very active. They could not figure out what caused the clots. Not sure if plasma donation had anything with it or not.

  2. Your blanket statement is absurd. There are very few times in medicine you should deal in absolutes. One such time is were I absolutely state that you should always take with a grain of salt someone stating absolutely that something is "impossible". It's funny that the author used that term, then went on to give the risk percentages. My suspicion is that these numbers are highly skewed in favor of the plasma donation centers and likely come up with by they themselves, but it can and does happen. I have donated plasma for 5 years, off and on. I have DVT in my leg. It likely happened as a result of sitting in my car too long, but just the other day I was on the bed next to someone who had to be disconnected for no flow because of clotting. It happens. Some centers use saline for anti-coagulation because it's cheaper. Some use sodium citrate, like the one I am at. It binds calcium in the blood, but can cause hypocalcermia reactions too. Not everyone responds to therapy and not everyone will respond in the same way. Dealing in absolutes and saying it's impossible is quite the retarded position to take.

  3. I strongly believe my dvt was a result of donating plasma. I donated a few times five years ago and was fine. However, I decided to start donating again. I donated on a Wednesday and went back on Friday. By Saturday, my pain in my left calf starting and I discovered I had a DVT. Some weird coincidence... I was also on birth control pills for An out three years with no problems. They said it was likely the pills. I don't think so or it would have been happened. The funny thing is the plasma bank called to see when I was coming back the next week. I explained my DVT to her and she had the ordacity to tell me my blood clot wouldn't keep me from donating. Ha ha, too funny. My health is more important seeming how that's what caused it. I'm not 100% sure where mines came from but that is a weird coincidence that it happened right after I donated. Two things for sure: I'm not taking birth control pills anymore or donating plasma ever again.

  4. I have been donating twice a week for a year. Saline is used at the center. The last time I went,in february, they could not reintroduce the blood into my body. It hurt horribly. They disconnected me. Wrote it up. Had me stay for a while and drink water. Told me I couldn't donate again for 8 weeks because I gave whole blood work out a return. Sent me on my way. My arm swelled and became tender and black. The bruise extended from just below my elbow to about my shoulder, all the way around. In the weeks after, there was and still is pain in my forearm when I lift anything. In 8 weeks, this month, I returned. They would not let me donate. The nurse said the doctor had reviewed their notes and decided there may be muscle damage. Guess that is the pain in my forearm. In the meantime, I have had unexplained fever for almost a week. One of the causes of unexplained fever is deep pain thrombosis, which can occur in the legs or arms. Does this sound like deep vein thrombosis? I haven't been to the doctor because I don't have insurance and I don't have much money....hence selling my plasma. With the Obamacare, it would cost $30 per month, but there is a $6000 deductible. So I still would have to pay all doctor bills. Texas does not offer medicaid or medicare to women between 40 - 65, WHICH I am. Any suggestions or thoughts on whether you think this is serious would be appreciated. I could sell some things maybe. But I want to make sure I need to do that first. Is this dvt?

  5. DVT AND PULMONARY EMBOLISM can occur during plasma donation.
    I just got discharged from the hospital lsstnight after donating plasma with machines so crappy and worn out that they needed to be primed after every cycle, because the device would bog down and shudder.
    I started donating again about a month ago. First donation that week went fine on Tuesday but on Thursday the return cycle feel like an over pressure in my vein, literally feels like the vein is ripping apart.
    Later that day came a ferocious burning in my left calf. Not knowing what happened. It went away two days later, then came thee worst migraine I've ever had in my life that lasted 14 days, during this time I misplaced basic words for others. cat instead of dog, time instead of date, vcr instead of tv channel. You guessed it.. I had a mini stroke.! but did not put it all together because I was having a stroke.
    I donated again last week Wednesday was fine, drank my gallon of v8 fusion before n after. on Friday I had the same machine I had nearly three weeks ago. by that night my left leg felt cold and dead and very numb. two days later I noticed I was VERY winded just walking in the yard. That was my pulmonary embolisms killing off lung tissue.
    Went to emergencyroom and after all the ct scans, sonograms proved I had multiple clots everywhere. The charge physicians came in with crash carts, cardiac team on immediate standby. I asked what all this is about. He said the ONLY time he has seen this many embolisms was on a dead body...!!

    1. Holy cow!! I've seen some bad effects of donating plasma, but yours are among the worst. I also put your comment here so more people could see it:

      I hope you're doing a little bit better now - and you've convinced me never to donate plasma again!


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