Around us, to fight with this crisis of COVID-19, we are hearing about two-term which are likely similar, ‘Plasma Donation’ and ‘Plasma Transplanting’. But we are in doubt, what do these two terms refer to?
Let us explain this:
Plasma exchange is a process that removes the plasma and replaces it with healthy plasma. This process is also called pheresis. Plasma, the fluid within your blood, has proteins in it. In certain diseases, these substances (autoantibodies) attack healthy cells. By doing a plasma exchange, we can remove some of the autoantibodies. This treatment may make it possible for you to have your transplant.
Now the question arises, how can we donate Plasma?
It is very simple. Blood is drawn from your arm and passed through a small tube (catheter) which is the same as the procedure of Blood donation.
Later on, using a device called centrifuge, plasma is separated from the blood particles and is used to make ready to push it into the patient’s body. The plasma that is to be removed is replaced mainly by three particles: Albumin, Saline, and Fresh Frozen Plasma (from healthy plasma given by blood donors and has been screened for viruses).
Now let us discuss what is Centrifuge and how does it function? If we want to explain it briefly then, a piece of equipment that puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis, applying a force perpendicular to the axis of spin that can be very strong. This is mainly accomplished through a method called Centrifugation.
Centrifugation is the technique that involves the application of centrifugal force to separate particles from a solution according to their size, shape, density, viscosity of the medium, and rotor speed. If we want to explain the principle of Centrifugation or centrifugate, then, The centrifuge works using the sedimentation principle, where the centrifugal acceleration causes denser substances and particles to move outward in the radial direction. At the same time, less dense objects are displaced and move to the center.
Well, maybe we have learned many unknown things about Plasma donation or plasma transplantation. But many of us may be in confusion regarding its side effects. But actually, there are no major side effects of it. Rather, you will gain more strong immune system. However, the side effects and its remedies are:
- Most people feel well during the time of donation of blood. In some cases, the donor may feel dizzy or light-headed. Slowing the rate of the exchange or lowering your head can help relieve these symptoms.
- Some people have numbness in the lips, and tingling in the hands and fingers. Chewing Tums or drinking milk can help. Others are slightly sick to their stomach (nauseated). These symptoms often go away after the exchange is done.
- Most people feel tired. Plan on little or no activity for the next few hours. If you are dizzy, lie down and raise your feet higher than your head.
- For the next few hours, leave your bandages on and keep them dry.
- Do not do any heavy lifting or exercise.
In the end, we will encourage you to donate your plasma which is simply as donating your blood for better cause in this pandemic situation.
#Ref: @”What is Plasma Exchange or Pheresis?”, UW health. @Centrufuge, Centrifugation; Wikipedia.
Written by: Nishat Sal Sabil