Donating Apheresis Plasma

What is Plasma?
Plasma is the fluid portion of blood -- the river which transports red blood cells, white cells and platelets through the body to nourish and protect tissues and organs. This pale yellow liquid is also rich in minerals and substances which help control bleeding.

Who Needs Plasma?
Plasma is frequently needed by trauma patients, burn victims and others fighting serious illness and injury.

Why is There a Special Need for AB Plasma?
In addition to being the rarest blood type (only about 3 percent of the population has type AB blood) AB plasma is the universal plasma type. AB plasma can be safely given to patients with any blood type.

How is Plasma Collected?
Plasma, which makes up about 55 percent of our blood's volume, can be separated from whole blood donations. Through a process called apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis), AB donors can safely give three times the amount of plasma as can be separated from a whole blood donation.

What is Apheresis?
Apheresis is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as plasma or platelets. Blood is drawn from your arm through sterile tubing into a centrifuge. The force of the centrifuge causes the blood to separate into components, which vary in weight and density. The plasma is then drawn up into a collection bag, while the remaining blood components are returned to you.

Who Can be an AB Plasma Donor?
If you have type AB blood and meet the requirements for donating blood, you probably can give plasma. AB plasma donors must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be in good health
  • weigh at least 114 pounds

Is AB Plasma Donation Safe?
Yes. Each donation is closely supervised throughout the procedure by trained staff. The amount of plasma collected does not compromise your health and is restored by your body within 24 hours. New, sterile donation equipment (needle, tubing, collection bags) is used for each donor - it is virtually impossible to contract a disease from the process.

How Long Does it Take?
The entire process, including registration, donor screening and donation usually takes less than 90 minutes. You may watch television or videotapes, listen to music, or simply sit back and relax while helping save a life.

How Can I Become an AB Plasma Donor?
If you live in Western Washington, call Puget Sound Blood Center's Apheresis Program at 425-453-5098 or 1-800- 398-7888 for more information or to make an appointment.