There are many people who need regular medication to survive. Some of these medicines can only be made from blood plasma. There are also many people who want to help - in Germany donate more than 7, 000 healthy blood fluid daily. Nevertheless, the amount is not enough for the need. And artificially producing plasma is still not possible.
Why is blood plasma important?
Plasma is a clear, yellowish fluid - the amount of blood left over when the blood cells are separated. Blood plasma consists of over 90% water. It contains smaller molecules such as sugars, vitamins, hormones, urea and uric acid as well as - with up to 8% the largest proportion - over 120 proteins with important, sometimes vital tasks. They play a role especially in the coagulation and immune system, but also as a transport vehicle for various substances.
If these proteins are missing or only reduced or produced by the body, diseases such as blood coagulation disorders and immune deficiency are the result. If albumin obtained from donor plasma is not regularly administered, this can have life-threatening consequences. But even patients with a high blood loss eg after an accident or after burns benefit from transfusions with blood plasma.
How does a plasma donation work?
About a quarter of the proteins contained in the blood plasma can be used to treat diseases. The blood fluid is obtained by plasmapheresis. As in the case of the "normal" blood donation, after the skin disinfection, blood is taken from a vein of the arm. This flows in a closed circuit in a special device that separates the solid blood components, so the blood cells from the blood plasma. The plasma - per "donation session" depending on body weight about 650 to 850 ml - is collected in a special bag; The blood cells are returned to the donor directly in a biocompatible fluid via the same cannula.
The blood in the tube system is made incapable of clotting with a special additive. The whole procedure takes about three quarters of an hour. Afterwards, the donor will be monitored for about half an hour. The advantage of plasma donation as opposed to whole blood donation is that the donor is hardly deprived of red blood pigment and that the removed components are re-formed within 1 to 2 days in the body. After 4 to 7 days, a new donation can be made. By law, a maximum annual limit of 28.5 liters or a maximum of 45 donations is set.