Blood transfusion has been a common treatment for various injuries and ailments for patients since the first successful transfusion in 1665. Since then, organizations like Carter BloodCare have worked tirelessly to continually replenish the blood supply for patients in need. However, we have come a long way since 1665; and today, giving blood is about more than making transfusion possible.
We’ve said it before, and we will say it again, blood is a life-saving resource that we cannot create in a lab. There is no substitute for human blood and it can help patients in ways other than transfusion. Most of us know what a whole blood donation is, and a few people are familiar with automated donation, which allows a donor to give individual blood products while the rest is returned to the body. However, fewer people have heard about source plasma. On the donation process side, giving source plasma is similar to giving transfusable plasma by automation. However, what happens to the product after the donation is what makes it different.
What is source plasma?
Source plasma is donated human plasma that is given to help manufacture treatments for patients with immunity deficiencies. Source-plasma-derived medical treatments include albumin and immunoglobulin (Ig) injections, or by infusion, called IVIg. Source plasma is gaining ground in its beneficial uses; however, with a current worldwide plasma shortage, it’s more difficult to provide these life-saving treatments. Burn victims, bone marrow transplant patients, and others suffering from immune system limitations are among the hundreds of patients who utilize source-plasma-derived therapies for medical treatments.
How do you give source plasma?
Source plasma donation is given through automation, using a machine that is unique to this collection process. However, the machine is working on the inside, much like the one used for collecting transfusable plasma, platelets or double red cells. Source plasma donors can give every 28 days, just like those who give transfusable plasma. However, source plasma donors face slightly different eligibility requirements. Therefore, donors who frequently travel or women who have had multiple births, are candidates to give source plasma; unlike some other blood donations for which they might be ineligible.
What process does it go through?
When it comes to transfusable blood products, we aim to keep donations within the community. However, source plasma must be sent to other facilities where the plasma-derived treatments are made. After collection by Carter BloodCare phlebotomists, the source plasma is sent to our Bedford lab where it is documented, frozen and shipped for manufacturing where fractionators produce the treatments that save patients’ lives. Then, it is shipped all over the world.
Celebrate International Plasma Awareness Week
The week of October 9 through 15 is International Plasma Awareness Week. Unfortunately, this year we are facing a worldwide shortage of this life-saving blood component, and giving source plasma and other blood products is important to save lives of patients of all ages, genders, races, and cultures. Blood connects all of us, and donating blood or blood products with organizations like Carter BloodCare helps connect you to people in the community (or all over the world).
Help us spread the word during International Plasma Awareness Week! To schedule a life-saving source plasma donation today, please call 817-412-5895. To hear from patients who depend on source plasma to live, click here.