Thursday, January 14, 2016

Q: How to Speed Up Plasma Donation?


Answer: Plasma donation normally takes 45-90 minutes. You can make plasma donation go faster by following these simple steps: drink up to 16 oz of water, pump your hand, and take a spoonful of (what's that now?) vegetable oil! Why? Imagine the red blood cells being balloons. If water is a good plasma lubricant for blood cells, then cooking oils like vegetable or olive oils lubricates blood cells even better.

Drink More Water for Faster Donation

Water makes up 90% of blood plasma. The other 10% of plasma is proteins and hemoglobin. Water, when taken in excess, makes plasma donation faster by thinning the blood (specifically the plasma.)

Why? Think of red blood cells as balloons slip-sliding all over each other, with plasma being the lubricant that moves and supports them. When you drink more water, the balloons have less friction, and therefore flow faster.

How much Water for Plasma Donation?


Never drink more than 8 glasses of water a day, or more than 64 oz (which is what the FDA recommends.) Why does the FDA recommend 64 oz of water? Because excessive water intake can actually dilute vital nutrients in the blood, like iron and protein. Plasma donation centers check both protein and iron nutrients, and will quickly reject plasma donors for low blood levels.

Don't dilute your iron or protein, and risk a rejection. 64 oz (or 4 Nestle Pur Life water bottles) a day is all most healthy adults need for kidney function, and slippery plasma. Drink 4 water bottles the day before, and one water bottle before plasma donation, along with an iron pill. This will make plasma donation go faster - you'll take a rapid 45 minutes in the donation chair instead of the full 90 minutes.

Pump Your Hand for Faster Plasma Times

This plasma donation step is something even veteran donors forget. When the phlebotomist asks if you want a squeezy toy during donation, they're not just being polite. Squeezing a stress ball/squeezy toy, or pumping your hand during donation, makes the blood in your arm veins flow faster.

If you don't pump your hand at all, the blood in your arm veins or donation tube will congeal, blocking the plasma flow. You'll then get a nice red light and a beeping plasmapheresis machine, which will make the phlebotomists come running. When a blockage happens, the assistants must quickly get the blood flowing again. If they can't, the donor risks blood getting stuck in the plasmapheresis machine, with a 6 month donation deferral to boot.

So, squeeze your fist (or ask for a stress ball to squeeze) and watch your plasma donation times speed up rapidly.

Take a Spoonful of Vegetable/Olive Oil for Plasma Donation



Taking a spoonful vegetable or olive oil for plasma donation sounds strange, but it's done wonders to make my own plasma donation times more rapid. It used to take me an hour to donate plasma, but now it takes me a quick 45 minutes or under to donate.

Don't take this as excuse to guzzle the vegetable oil, though. A large spoonful is usually enough to cleanse the veins, and make plasma donation go faster. Extra virgin olive oil is even better, since a spoonful of (uncooked) vegetable oil a day has added unsaturated fat benefits of heart health.

Extra note on fats: Saturated fats, like the ones in your cheeseburger, actually clog the blood vessels, making plasma donation slower. A common plasma deferral/rejection reason is slow plasma flow, due to eating too much saturated fat. While olive oil (and avocado, and peanuts - all unsaturated fats) make plasma flow faster, saturated fats make plasma thicker, and slower flowing. So, skip the ice cream, cheese burgers, and french fries the day before donation, and take unsaturated fats to donate faster.

Finally, don't donate plasma with high blood pressure. If your pulse is higher than normal, the plasma donation will make you sit in the waiting lobby for an extra 5-10 minutes, adding to your donation time. If, after your wait in the lobby, your pulse stays high, you will be rejected for high blood pressure.

These are tips to donate plasma faster. So relax, drink your water, pump your squeezy, and drink a tablespoon of vein-cleansing vegetable oil to speed up plasma donation times.
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