Plasmapheresis is the selective removal of just the plasma (liquid) component of the blood. In the process, the donor's blood is drawn and passed through a machine which separates the components, removes the plasma and returns the red cells back to the donor.

Q: Why are Plasma Donations Important?

A: Over 40 million hospital patients use plasma products each year and the need for these products is growing in the Central Valley. Newborn babies, Leukemia patients, burn victims, trauma patients, hemophiliacs and transplant or cardiovascular surgery patients use plasma to help them recover from their illness or injury. Plasma improves a patient's ability to stop bleeding by supplementing clotting factors, and it restores blood volume to the patient. Burn victims can often use several hundred units of plasma during their recovery period.

Q: Why are Donors with Type AB Blood Important for Plasma Donations?

A: Type AB donors are considered the universal plasma donor as their plasma can be given safely to any patient regardless of their blood type. However, red blood cells from type AB donors can only be received by 3-4% of patients. Plasma is the most important component our community needs from type AB donors.

Q: How Long Does it Take to Donate Plasma?

A: The entire donation process, including screening, takes about one hour (roughly 15 minutes more than a whole blood donation), 30 to 35 minutes of the donation process is spent on the plasma machine.

Q: How Does the Plasma Machine Work?

A: After you sit in the chair, a needle is placed in your vein and your blood is pumped into a specialized spinning device that separates the plasma from the other whole blood components, such as red and white blood cells and platelets. While the plasma is collected, the other blood components are filtered into a reservoir. The red and white blood cells and platelets are then returned to your body.

Q: Who can Donate?

A: The donation criteria are the same for whole blood; therefore, donors must be at least 16-years-old (donors under 18 years of age must have written parental consent), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in good general health. Donors will still complete the screening process, as with whole blood.

Q: How Often Can I Give Plasma?

A: You can donate plasma every 28 days instead of every 56 days, as with whole blood. Plasma can be donated more frequently because the body replaces plasma within a 24-hour period.

Q: How Can I Make an Appointment?

A: Call the Central California Blood Center at (559) 389-5466.