In layman's terms plasma is about 90% water plus life supporting components that include proteins, nutrients, and minerals. Plasma carries blood cells and platelets, delivers nutrients and carries off wastes.
Plasma is collected because it's vital to make therapies that maintain blood volume and
pressure in patients, plus the proteins it contains support our body's immunity and
blood clotting abilities.
The Plasma Collection Process
There are two ways that plasma can be collected:
1.) The first is an automated process called plasmapheresis
in which your blood extracted from your body into a machine, which
separates the plasma from the other components; your blood cells, etc.
are then returned to your body. This produces source plasma, the starting material before it is manufactured into the other therapies.
2.) Recovered plasma
is different in the method of collection, as it is comes from whole
blood donation. It is also subject to different requirements for
storage, dating, labeling, and pooling.
What A Plasma Machine Does
In most cases, the actual process of donating plasma, Plasmapheresis, is
automated. When you are hooked up to a machine in a plasma donation clinic the
machine will first draw your blood into a central chamber which spins
fast enough to separate the plasma from the blood.
A nurse puts a needle into your vein to extract blood; the
blood travels through tubing into a machine that separates the plasma
from your red blood cells; the plasma gets collected into a holding bag;
and your remaining blood cells and components get returned to your
Once separated from
the blood the plasma drops to a separate storage space in the machine
and once enough plasma is collected it is then sent from the machine
into a donation bottle outside.
During the plasma donation procedure, different proteins and other
factors can be separated out to make life giving medicatins while the
red blood cells are returned to the donor
Now that all the plasma is gone from the
blood the blood is now returned to the donor and in most cases this
step has no pain at all. Depending on your weight and how much plasma
they take it could take anywhere from 3 to 5 cycles for the machine to
get all the plasma they need.
What Happens To Plasma After Donation?
Donated plasma gets used in the manufacture of medicine or for direct
transfusion into critically ill patients to increase their blood volume
or help treat certain serious medical conditions.