Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How Long Does it Take to Donate Plasma?

A plasma donation takes, on average, 45 minutes for the entire collection period. However, donating plasma or platelets (called apheresis or automated donation) can take up to 90 minutes.

Generally, plasma donation takes about an hour, platelets take one to two hours to donate, and red blood cells take about 30 minutes.

Plasma takes a little longer than giving whole blood, but they both take time. The donor screening takes about 15 minutes. It will take up to 20 minutes to be called back. Only 30 to 35 minutes of the donation process is spent actually giving plasma.

I was told on multiple occasions by the staff on the donation floor, and the nurse working there, that some people take longer because their plasma is thick (not fully hydrated), or the needle gets pushed too far into the vein, getting too close to the wall of the vein or touching the side of it.

There are several factors that affect how long it takes:

  1. Your weight. Generally, the more weight you gain, the greater the plasma volume and the longer the donation takes. The amount of money you make reflects this.
  2. Your iron levels. Iron levels increase hematocrit, a blood bonding agent that makes red blood cells more "slippery." Having higher levels of iron makes for faster donation times. It typically takes at least a few weeks of increased iron intake to affect an individual's hematocrit level.
  3. You're dehydrated. If you are not drinking enough water throughout the day it will make your blood thicker. In addition, drinking caffeine, coffee / soda / tea, or other sugars, makes your donation thicker due to lack of blood circulation, so it takes time to donate and in some cases pain increases.
  4. Lack of exercise/bad diet. Fat-rich food makes plasma thicker, makes it harder to pass through the machine, and it takes more time to donate. I actually saw a donor clog the plasma machine once, because their plasma was so thick from a diet like this.
  5. You're a first-time donor. The first plasma donation at any center involves showing your SS card, answering a lengthy questionaire, and getting a physical. First time donations can take up to 3 hours time at the plasma center. You may have to disregard the first donation as I'm told it takes two visits to see your "average" time.
  6. You went on the weekend. It takes me 43 minutes to complete my donation when I go Wednesdays and Fridays. If I go on the weekends (CSL plasma's busiest days) it takes me 2 hours to donate. 
  7. You got a bad needle stick. During your visit, a bigger needle than the one used for whole blood is inserted into the vein, and blood is drawn. When the needle is sitting too far in your vein, donation time increases, and pain and scarring can occur. This can usually be corrected by changing the position of the needle in the vein. Some veins are harder to hit than other veins and all veins have different anchoring techniques.
  8. You got an old plasmapheresis machine.  An apheresis machine spins the blood very fast in a small centrifuge to separate out the plasma. Over time, this spinning arm can break down and go slower (just like the spinning disk in a hard drive.) This lengthens the time taken for donors unlucky enough to get these machines.

Plasma Screening Process

After the initial plasma donation, visiting time will be shortened to simply checking your red blood cell count, protein, blood pressure, pulse rate, body temperature and weight. It is necessary to ask screening questions for all donors every time. We do screening every time you donate to confirm that you are generally healthy and meet plasma donation standards.

Vitals are taken (blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight), veins are inspected for donation viability (but if our phlebotomists did not like them, the donor could try another plasma centre) and there is a visual inspection in the druggie hotspots of the body for needle marks.

Average Wait Times

I'm working full-time and I'm in college, but I still have time and I sell my plasma whenever I feel like it. If I don't have something good to do that day, I can relax myself for an hour and receive as much as 30 dollars at the same time.

It takes me around 45 minutes to donate once the needle is stuck in my arm, but waiting in the long lines to donate can take you aprox 1 1/2 to 2 hrs to complete your entire donation visit being you have to login to their computers and answer a serious of questions each donation visit. Plus, they have to check your protein, iron, weight, blood pressure, temperature, ect and then if you pass through all those pre-requirements you are elgible to donate for that day.

Yes, there is a screening process that will affect how long it takes to donate, but the screening will take about 5 to 15 minutes. Depending on the level of experience, center management, workload, it's almost always less than 5 minutes. In order to pass the time, most plasma donation centers have free Wi-Fi and TV.

Monday, January 30, 2017

How to Steady Rolling Veins for Plasma Donation

Some veins move out of the way when the needle is inserted into the skin, and are referred to as rolling veins. According to the Northcoast Medical Training Academy, the rolling vein is a left or right moving or rotating vein, which makes blood collection difficult. Genetically, your veins may be moving (arteriovenous) or stationary, whether larger or smaller, shallower or shallower.

Always warn a plasma phlebotomist that you've got rolling veins before donating, so they can cut out the "Chase the Vein" portion of the proceedings and go straight to the special tricks for rolling veins.

When collecting blood and plasma, according to the North Carolina's Harm Reduction Coalition, there are several tricks to successfully handle rolling veins:

  1. Stretch your skin at the injection site. By stretching the skin, you can securely anchor your veins and increase the opportunity for the needle to enter the vein completely. When the phlebotomist performs a venipuncture, the skin should be pulled down so that the vein does not move upward. Use the thumb side of your non-dominant hand to apply traction to the skin beneath the IV vein puncture site. The key to anchoring a vein is to apply pressure, so don't be shy about pushing down to pull the skin nice and tight.
  2. Ask for a butterfly needle. It is also possible to deal with rolling veins by a medical innovation called "butterfly needle". The present invention is a disposable product used to stabilize a rolling vein and hold a small vein in place to facilitate needle insertion. This special needle has flexible wings on both sides where medical professionals place their fingers to secure the device for precise placement. Hence, the "butterfly".
  3. Drink more water. Always drink a few cups of water before donating plasma or blood. It helps to plump your veins and make plasma collection easier. This is very important as it lubricates the plasma, dilates the veins and makes the donation of plasma easier and faster.
  4. Ask for an angled needle insertion. The plasma needle is designed to be inserted at a shallow angle so as to apply pressure to the vein, and at the same time steady rolling veins. A phlebotomist should pierce the skin directly above the vein at an angle of about 45 degrees and as it enters the vein, bring the needle close to the skin (some nurses inject through one side of the vein, others through the top, which is a personal preference) . Using an appropriate angle, the tearing caused by the plasma needle in the vein can also be reduced.
  5. Tell the phlebotomist to anchor the vein. It is up to the phlebotomist drawing your blood plasma to anchor the vein before sticking you, that will help it not to roll. As long as the drawing the blood anchors the vein properly, there should be no issues. The anchoring and stretching of the skin distally prevents the vein from rolling or moving during your insertion attempt.
  6. Apply skin care cream to the site. Skin care products used for rolling veins are very beneficial. After rolling, please use good quality product (cream or oil) ingredients. It all depends on the depth of your veins. If you roll back very tightly once a month, you can help your collagen to regrow.
  7. Ask for a larger needle gauge. In the case of a thick rolling vein, the plasma center should use the sharpest needle in their arsenal and try to access the vein from the top rather than from the side. Although 20 gauge is most commonly used for normal plasma donations, body fluids, and medications, even transfusions, adults can be injected safely with a 22 gauge plasma needle.
  8. Reapply the needle. If blood flow is insufficient for sample collection, you can lightly reapply the tourniquet. This reduces the likelihood that a vein will compress from a needle.
  9. Please relax your arms. When a nurse injects you, loosen your hands and arms to prevent rolling. Please use the heat pad while relaxing, drop your arms, drink water and reevaluate the site.
  10. Ask the center if they have a vein viewer. Modern medicine is making the process of drawing blood a lot easier for patients and phlebotomists with a device called AccuVein, which helps the phlebotomist identify veins. Experts say the Vein Viewer works by gently x-raying people with rolling veins and deep veins, as well as hard to find veins. The device also works great on babies because their veins are tiny.
  11. Ask for a different phlebotomist. At the medical laboratory, there will always be one person who can be counted for successful extraction from the most robust and uncooperative veins. If you feel that your blood draw is too shallow, ask someone else to draw your blood.
You can also stimulate the skin over this vein (and the connective tissues between the arteries) by snapping your forefinger over the site. This local stimulation makes veins grow, perhaps by releasing a regional veno-dilator, or by blocking a regional veno-constrictor.

What Happens During a "Rolling" Insertion?

Implementation of venipuncture and the start of peripheral intravenous (IV) infusion is one of the most difficult clinical skills that nurses must acquire.

With a rolling vein, you push through the skin, but then when your needle hits the vein wall, the vein moves away instead of laying there quietly and letting you pierce it. Then you play an invigorating game of Chase the Vein, which is frustrating and stressful for everybody involved.

What Exactly Causes Rolling Veins?

A rotating vein can be anywhere in the body and is commonly a vein that is not completely fixed to the surrounding subcutaneous tissue. This happens more easily with veins close to the surface or in elderly people with less skin and connective tissue.

These veins have two bad properties, making it difficult to isolate the patient and insert the needle. Firstly, the vein seems not to be bound to the surrounding skin and moves completely freely, but most human connective tissue tends to hold the vein more or less.

Why Can't I Donate Plasma?

You may have been said to be a "hard stick" if you previously went to a clinic or laboratory and a phlebotomist stabbed you more than once for a single blood draw. It's due to various conditions such as dehydration, collapsed veins, contracted blood vessels, and lack of experience of plasma center technicians.

If you have ever had a plasma donation where the technician tells you that you have small, deep or rolling veins (the veins tend to roll away from the needle when the blood is drawn), the next best choice for your plasma donation is to make sure you tell them you have these probable problems before the start of plasma donation.

The person who collects your plasma is a doctor trained with venipuncture (touching the vein with a needle), and there are many experts such as phlebotomists, medical assistants, nurses etc. And when pediatric critical care doctors are faced with treating children with cancer or chubby babies whose veins are not eligible for plasma donation, infrared technology aids in drawing blood, fitting peripherally inserted central catheters (known as a PICC line) and IV insertion.
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