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.