What is plasma and what are blood platelets

Apheresis donations

The Plateletspending

Platelets (also known as platelets) are essential for blood clotting and the immune defense of the human body. Recipients of platelet concentrates are patients who suffer from bleeding disorders (haemostasis) or a lack of blood platelets. The blood preparations are made available to patients with platelet concentrations below 50,000 per millionth of a liter of blood.

The lack of blood platelets can result, on the one hand, from increased platelet consumption (e.g. during open heart surgery in which the platelets are damaged by the use of a heart-lung machine) or, on the other hand, from a reduced formation of platelets (e.g. through the Side effects of chemotherapy or bone marrow disease). Without an external supply of blood platelets, these patients would be at the mercy of (internal) bleeding, as blood clotting would not be possible.

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Process of platelet donation

The platelet donation means the removal of a small part of the platelets in your blood by means of a cell separator. To do this, a vein is punctured in the arm and about 50-60 ml of blood per minute is automatically drawn. The blood is collected and centrifuged in a sterile, single-use hose system. The machine sucks a small part of the platelets out of the blood. The rest of the blood is immediately given back to you via another punctured vein. You do not suffer a dangerous loss of platelets, as this is immediately compensated for by the bone marrow and a large reserve in the spleen. The whole process takes about 1.5 hours. So that the time is not too long for you, you can listen to the radio, watch TV or watch videos with us.

The platelet concentrate can be kept for approx. 5 days after the donation if properly stored.

A platelet donation takes between 45 and 70 minutes, depending on the patient, and can be done every 14 days. Compared to a whole blood donation, around six times the number of platelets can be extracted. It is worth mentioning that, parallel to the platelet donation, normal whole blood can still be donated, but there should be an interval of two days between the individual donations.


Selection of candidates for a platelet donation

Platelet donors are usually chosen from among blood plasma donors. In addition to fulfilling the criteria for a blood (plasma) donor, a concentration of over 250,000 thrombocytes (blood platelets) per µl is required. For patients with a long-term need for platelet concentration, a list of suitable donors is kept due to the high specificity of the donations (correspondence of blood group and HLA characteristics required). Due to the short shelf life of the platelet concentrates, platelet donors should have a comparatively high degree of flexibility when it comes to the timing of their donations.


The Blood plasmaaspende

Blood plasma donation is less common than whole blood donation, but is just as important for the medicine and pharmaceutical industries. The blood plasma is a yellowish liquid that consists of around 90 percent water and 10 percent dissolved substances. The plasma fulfills vital tasks as a transport and storage medium in the human body. In particular, the blood cells are also transported in the plasma.


Process of blood plasma donation

With blood plasma donation (also known as plasma donation), around 600 ml of blood plasma is obtained from donor blood as part of what is known as plasmapheresis. The donation process is more complex than with whole blood donation and therefore takes much longer at around 30 - 60 minutes. The blood plasma is obtained from the blood drawn from the donor's vein. With the help of a centrifuge or a filter, the plasma is separated from other components of the blood, for example red and white blood cells, collected and, after the donation process, stored in a cool place for further use.

The blood cells, including the important red blood cells, are returned to the donor together with a saline solution to balance the fluid, so that the blood plasma donation has a significantly lower impact on the donor's organism. It is thus possible to donate blood plasma significantly more frequently than is the case with a whole blood donation. Another donation is possible after 4-7 days, but the maximum amount of 28.5 liters per year must not be exceeded. Blood plasma donations can be carried out in addition to the whole blood donation.

Once the blood plasma has been processed, it can be used for a variety of medical purposes. The recipients of the plasma are patients with a deficiency of plasma proteins (proteins), a tendency to bleeding due to coagulation disorders or victims of large blood losses. In addition, due to its diverse ingredients, the blood plasma also serves as a starting material for many drugs.


selection the candidate for a plasma donation

It should be noted that not every whole blood donor is automatically suitable as a plasma donor. A positive aptitude test for the plasma donor is necessary for this, which must be repeated after every 15th donation. Usually, donors are required to have "successfully" (that is, without complications) donated blood at least once (better regularly).

Plasma donation is a medical term and describes the donation of blood plasma as part of a blood plasma donation.

The yellow clear (in the case of obesity also milky yellow-white) plasma is separated from the red blood cells by so-called plasmapheresis, a special form of apheresis. In most cases, the red blood cells are returned to the donor's body. This means that a plasma donation is possible every third day, which is much more frequently than a complete blood donation.

The duration of the donation depends on the hemoglobin value. The higher this is, the longer the removal process takes. In the case of a donation, 760 ml of plasma are usually withdrawn. The donated blood plasma is stored for six months at -40 ° C and the donor continues to be examined for diseases (e.g. in the context of further donations). If he still does not have any diseases that can be transmitted by blood plasma (e.g. syphilis, HIV, hepatitis), his blood plasma donation will be used, otherwise it will be destroyed.


Donors / donations

Donors must, among other things, be of legal age (18 years old) and weigh more than 50 kg. You must not have used any drugs in the last four weeks, donated blood in the last week, not had any alcohol in the last 12 hours, not be pregnant or have been pregnant in the last 6 months. There must be at least two donation-free days between two donations. The maximum annual donation amount in Germany is set at 28.5 liters by guidelines of the German Medical Association. However, this maximum amount is not legally binding (see hemotherapy guidelines).