What Are the Medical Uses of Blood Plasma?

Steven Symes
Steven Symes
A bag of blood plasma.
A bag of blood plasma.
A bag of blood plasma.

Blood plasma contains properties that help people with a variety of medical needs. People with genetic disorders, such as hemophilia, must regularly receive blood plasma to stay healthy. Other patients who undergo surgery or other traumatic medical episodes also need plasma transfusions to stave off infection, speed the body’s healing and promote blood clotting. Donated plasma is kept frozen until it is either processed or transfused to a patient.

Plasma donors are compensated for their time.
Plasma donors are compensated for their time.
Plasma donors are compensated for their time.

Receiving blood plasma transfusions helps introduce helpful properties to medical patients’ blood. The extra plasma provides more blood platelets and other clotting factors. The plasma transfusions also introduce extra water into a patient’s blood stream, since the majority of plasma is water, helping hydrate patients. Patients also receive extra protein from plasma transfusions. Depending on the person who donates, the plasma might also have specific antibodies that can be helpful in fighting off conditions like cirrhosis or emphysema.

Plasma transfusions help by introducing many helpful properties into the blood such as extra platelets for clotting.
Plasma transfusions help by introducing many helpful properties into the blood such as extra platelets for clotting.
Plasma transfusions help by introducing many helpful properties into the blood such as extra platelets for clotting.

Some patients have genetic disorders that require them to receive plasma transfusions on a regular basis, sometimes as often as every two to three days. The transfusions help people with blood clotting disorders, such as hemophilia, so they do not lose too much blood if they are injured or ever need to undergo surgery. The plasma may be put through a number of manufacturing processes that are designed to bring out certain qualities of the plasma. For example, the manufacturing process might draw out certain antibodies to treat patients with weakened immune systems.

Some patients need a plasma transfusion.
Some patients need a plasma transfusion.
Some patients need a plasma transfusion.

People who undergo traumatic medical situations also receive blood plasma to help prevent the development of medical complications down the road. When patients go through surgery, plasma donations help speed up blood clotting and introduce antibodies to fight off possible infections introduced during or after the procedure. Shock and burn victims might also receive plasma, helping boost their temporarily weakened immune systems until the patients recover.

Blood tests are typically completed before an individual is able to donate blood plasma.
Blood tests are typically completed before an individual is able to donate blood plasma.
Blood tests are typically completed before an individual is able to donate blood plasma.

Those who donate blood plasma are compensated for their time. If the donator has rare antibodies or blood type, the center that collects the plasma might pay a higher fee for each donation. Donating plasma requires people to not only be healthy, but to drink plenty of fluids and maintain a certain level of proteins in their blood.

After blood plasma is collected from donors, it is immediately frozen to keep the plasma’s properties fresh. The plasma stays frozen at the clinic where it was collected, and is stored and transported frozen. When the plasma arrives at the location where it is to be administered to a patient, it is thawed out completely.

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Discussion Comments

anon973498

In Canada, Britain and many other countries, blood services are on a donation basis with no compensation other than thanks. The fee for blood is principally a USA thing although I cannot say for certain that they are the only ones who pay. Some third world countries probably do also have a payment for blood tissues system.

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    • A bag of blood plasma.
      A bag of blood plasma.
    • Plasma donors are compensated for their time.
      Plasma donors are compensated for their time.
    • Plasma transfusions help by introducing many helpful properties into the blood such as extra platelets for clotting.
      Plasma transfusions help by introducing many helpful properties into the blood such as extra platelets for clotting.
    • Some patients need a plasma transfusion.
      Some patients need a plasma transfusion.
    • Blood tests are typically completed before an individual is able to donate blood plasma.
      Blood tests are typically completed before an individual is able to donate blood plasma.