Monday, September 2, 2013

Is Donating Plasma Safe or Dangerous for Donors?

Q: Is it safe to donate plasma? Ive donated just blood platelets many of times before and they always put the plasma back into my body.  What I understand (because my sister donates plasma) is that they put a needle in your arm, similar to the one they use on a regular blood draw. My mother says that they open new sterile packaged equipment (needles, etc) every time they draw her blood.

A: It is perfectly safe to donate plasma. As long as you follow the rules then you are safe.  The procedure itself is very safe and the clinics tend to be impeccably clean. Any complications that can arise from donating are usually minor. Call the blood bank and ask them. They will be happy to explain the procedure. If your mother has any additional concerns, please contact the Medical Director for your regional blood center.

Risk of Cross-Contamination While Donating Plasma 

A double red cell donation by apheresis technology is as safe or safer than donating whole blood. When a pathogen enters the body via a wound, it makes contact with the red blood cells. The pathogen is detected after the white blood cells bind to its antigens and recognise that it is foreign.

You're not receiving anyone else's blood products, and unless you donated in some third world clinic, needles are used only once. Thanks to using sterilized equipment, there is exactly no chance of being infected by any pathogens by donating blood, plasma or any other blood constituent.

Is it Dangerous to Donate More Often than Twice a Week?

It is dangerous to give blood before the recommended time. As long as you give your body about a week between each donation to regenerate new blood you can donate on a regular basis. Considering you can donate plasma twice in one week, with only one day in between, you should  be fine.

There is a safe amount of time between one donation/sale and the next. If you donate more often than this, you could find yourself with more problems than you can imagine.

Is it Dangerous to Donate While Taking Medications?

Plasma clinics don't want you to be on medications because they can be passed onto the donee. It's dangerous to donate plasma while taking phentermine, a common medication used to treat acne. Acne = antibotics, mental health = dangerous meds. It can kill a patient who has a heart condition if they get your plasma.

Risk of Receiving Blood Plasma Donations

 That's only a danger to people RECEIVING the donation. When you donate plasma, they need to know what donors have been exposed to in the past, because you can pass certain viruses along with your plasma.  They want to make sure all donors are safe and don't have anything a future receiver may get sick from. There are blood tests in place so they can insure that no one gets infected from donor blood plasma.
Is it Dangerous to Exercise After Plasma Donation?

 Exercise temporarily elevates your blood pressure, so it is possible  that the venepuncture you need when donating may be more accurately performed, your blood could be easier to 'harvest', and the drop in blood volume caused by removing plasma might be more easily coped with. If you get some similar effects when exercising (ie ligtheadedness, headaches  or nausea) then it is possible that exercising will amplify these feelings during the procedure, but for most people light exercise would not have a major effect on your body's response to blood or plasma donation.

Can I Safely Drive Home After Donating Plasma?

 If you are GOING to the center to give blood, and you know how to drive then its safe. However before you drive home after plasma donating it could be unsafe because you could become dizzy and have an accident .That's why the plasma center has the donor lie down for a while and gives them juices containing sugar, so as to make sure that donors are in a physical condition to drive home safely.

Dangerously Dehydrated Fluid Levels During Donation

 If water enters the body more quickly than it can be removed, body fluids are diluted and a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance occurs. It basically upsets the balance of certain minerals in the blood.

With DRC donation, normal saline is returned to the donor, along with native platelets, plasma and white cells, preventing any fluid volume loss.  They take your blood and it goes through a machine that separates the plasma from the blood, then the processed blood is mixed with saline and put back into your stream to prevent dehydration. Sodium citrate is also used in the centrifuge to prevent donor whole blood from clotting during separation..

 Most water intoxication is caused by hyponatremia, an overdilution of sodium (salt) in the blood plasma, which in turn causes an osmotic shift of water from extracellular fluid (outside of cells) to intracellular fluid (within cells).

Safely Donating Plasma After a Miscarriage

 Donors must wait a couple of weeks after a miscarriage before plasma donating. Chances are you lost a significant amount of blood during the miscarriage, so it makes sense to let your body recover completely. You can visit the National Institute of Health web site concerning double red cell donation after miscarriage.

Screening Process Before Plasma Donation

A check for iron levels in your blood and a brief conversation with a nurse before you actually start the process of physical donation. Often blood products about to be transfused are cross-matched with the receiver's blood as a last fail-safe to rule out surprise incompatibilities. Second, your donation has been entered into a data base that is available to donation centers.

 FDA guidelines do not mandate drug testing of donated blood components. If you ever feel like you're in a dangerous situation, you should definitely leave. If you're located in canada you can go to canadian blood services, which are safe and reliable. Any reputable plasma center should be able to give you information at the clinic about donor safety and risks.

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