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About plasma

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions. If you would like further information, please send your questions directly to the specialists at Europlasma  (spenderinfo[at]europlasma.at). You can also contact us HERE!

What is the difference between blood and plasma donations?

Plasma can be donated much more often than blood. With plasma donation, between 600 and 850 millilitres of blood plasma are obtained per donation - depending on body weight. When donating whole blood, women may donate four times and men a maximum of six times during the same period. Hippocrates (ca. 460-370 B.C.) already used the therapy of bloodletting.

What happens when I donate plasma? 

In plasma donation, the blood flows through a sterile needle into a closed disposable tube system. It is centrifuged or filtered, thereby separating the blood cells from the blood fluid (plasma). The blood cells are then returned to the body through a disposable tube, and the separated plasma flows into a bag or bottle. The whole process takes place right next to the donor, a computer-controlled machine controls the plasma donation in such a way that it is very gentle on the donor. The amount of plasma donated depends on body weight. The plasma donation takes about 45 to 60 minutes.

Who can donate plasma?

Anyone over the age of 18 is allowed to donate plasma if they meet the health requirements and their body weight is at least 50 kg. For a health assessment, an anamnesis is taken by means of an anamnesis questionnaire and a discussion with the doctor. 

How often can plasma be donated?

Donating plasma hardly burdens the body and is therefore possible 50 times a year. However, there are some regulations to be observed: between two donations, two "donation-free" days must pass, within 7 days you may not donate more than twice and within 14 days you may not donate more than three times. 

What exactly is a reference year (donation year)?

Your personal donation year (reference year) begins on the day of your first blood plasma donation in your EUROPLASMA donation centre. This date always remains the same, even if you may not be able to donate for a longer period of time. On this date, the counting of your donations starts again at "1" every year.

Why donate plasma?

Despite the immense medical progress of the past decades, a synthetic production of human blood and thus also blood plasma is not possible. For the healing of many diseases, the performance of organ transplants and the rescue of accident victims, products made from human blood must therefore continue to be available in sufficient quantities. In short, plasma donation saves lives - each of us could one day be dependent on donated plasma.

What are the benefits of plasma donations for me personally?

Donating plasma offers many advantages: On the one hand, you are regularly examined by a doctor and are always informed about your state of health, on the other hand you receive an expense allowance per donation (you can donate up to 50 times a year) and finally you "give life" with your donation.

Is it possible to donate plasma if one was ill with Covid-19?

Yes, when you have fully recovered, you can donate plasma again. Antibodies from the plasma of recovered patients should help those who are ill. You must be symptom-free for 28 days.

What tests do donor blood and the donor have to pass?

There are some tests to determine donor eligibility: blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, blood count blood count (haematocrit, haemoglobin, leucocytes, erythrocytes, MCV). These examinations are carried out with every donation. An even more thorough medical examination is carried out before the first donation and then periodically every four months. 

What laboratory values are examined?

With every donation we test the donor blood for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and Parvo B-19. At regular intervals we also measure the concentration of immunoglobulin G and total protein in your blood and prepare a blood count. The laboratory values are also made available to you for external visits to the doctor on request.

What are the consequences of knowingly giving false information?

If you have any doubt about your suitability as a donor, please let us know, it may be for the lives of others. Deliberately giving false information will result in expulsion from our donor facilities. Criminal consequences cannot be ruled out if other people are harmed.

Is the blood group important for plasma donation?

You can donate plasma with any blood group. Plasma is processed independently of the blood group. The blood group is not determined, since even drugs are produced from plasma independently of the blood group.

Can I donate blood and plasma?

It is generally possible to donate both blood and plasma regularly. However, this changes the cycles in which donations can be made separately. While the interval between two whole blood donations must normally be at least 8 weeks, the interval can be extended by plasma donation.
The following minimum intervals between donations must be ensured: 
1. whole blood donation and plasma donation: 14 days
2. whole blood donation and thrombocyte apheresis: 14 days
3. plasma donation and whole blood donation: 48 hours
4. plasma donation and platelet apheresis: 48 hours 
5. platelet apheresis and whole blood donation: 48 hours
6. platelet apheresis and plasma donation: 14 days

In combination with a whole blood donation, there is also a different frequency with regard to stress on the organism and loss of fluid. Please inform our staff as well as the staff of your blood donation centre about your donation activities. In this way both parties can ensure that the prescribed breaks in donation are observed.

How I will be supervised during plasma donation?

A doctor is always present in the centre during your donation. This doctor also performs the tests. In addition, our medically trained staff will look after you during your entire stay at our plasma centre.

Can a plasma donation have an influence on physical performance?

After a plasma donation or through plasma donation activity, there is generally no reduction in physical performance.

Are there any restrictions for athletes?

There are no disadvantages for athletes as a result of a plasma donation. The only restriction is that the donor arm should not be subjected to heavy mechanical strain (e.g. weight lifting) for a few hours immediately after a plasma donation. Usual sports like jogging, football, fitness etc. or are possible without restriction.

Can a vegetarian donate plasma?

Yes, donating plasma is even more tolerable for vegetarians than donating blood, since the donor hardly loses any red blood cells (and thus iron) when donating plasma, unlike when donating blood. However, vegetarians may need to take iron supplements before their first plasma donation to replenish their iron stores. Haemoglobin levels are measured before each plasma donation and must meet certain limits to be accepted for plasma donation.

Can one donate plasma if one has a tattoo or has recently received one?

After a tattoo (this also applies to the re-tattooing of a tattoo), a 4-month break from plasma donation must be observed.

Are there differences between women and men in plasma donation?

Tatsächlich gibt es beim Vorgang der Plasmaspende einen signifikanten Unterschied zwischen den Geschlechtern: Bei Frauen verläuft er in der Regel schneller als bei Männern. Das hat folgenden Grund – Frauen haben im Verhältnis einfach mehr Blutplasma als Männer.

Indeed, there is a significant difference between the sexes in the process of plasma donation which is generally faster for women than for men. The reason for this is that women simply have more blood plasma than men.
While blood plasma accounts for 50 to 59 percent of the blood volume in men, it accounts for 54 to 73 percent in women. It is also different for blood components - women have on average less haemoglobin in their blood. This iron-containing protein complex binds oxygen to the erythrocytes, giving them their red colour - and prolongs the process of donation.

Can I get infected when I donate plasma?

No. A new, sterile disposable kit is used throughout the entire donation process. This disposable set is hygienically sealed. The blood and the blood plasma circulate exclusively in this disposable set and have no contact with the environment. There is no possibility of getting into contact with foreign blood or other material. 

Does the plasma centre have Wi-Fi?

Yes, free Wi-Fi is available for you in our centres. For access details, please contact our local staff.

What is the "polymerase chain reaction" (PCR)?

PCR is a new, genetic engineering method for detecting pathogens. If pathogenic germs enter the human bloodstream, they are recognised by the immune system. The immune system now starts to produce defence substances, the so-called antibodies. It often takes several weeks before these antibodies are detectable in the blood. Usual tests used in routine diagnostics specifically detect these defence substances (antibodies) against the pathogens. The time that elapses between the infection of a person and the detection of antibodies is called the "diagnostic window". The PCR test does not diagnose human antibodies, but the pathogens themselves. The pathogens can be detected in the blood after a much shorter time. The "Diagnostic Window" is therefore significantly reduced. For the recipients of blood products, this means additional safety.

What is "convalescent plasma"?

Convalescence comes from Latin and in medicine describes the recovery after an illness. Convalescent plasma (RKP) is plasma from people who have survived an infectious disease and have already produced protective antibodies against the virus.

What is the platelet donation?

Blood consists of a liquid part, the plasma, and the formed elements, the red and white blood cells and the thrombocytes (= blood platelets). The thrombocytes are important for blood clotting, without these cells the human being could not survive, there would be no hemostasis in wounds, for example.

Platelets are donated by voluntary donors in a similar way to plasma, there are the following differences: 

  • the time required is slightly higher, about 50-70 minutes (accordingly the expense allowance is higher), the blood circulating outside the body is less than in plasma donation and the type of machine used is different.
  • The bag with the removed platelet donation has a content of 300 ml. This bag is irradiated after the donation in order to kill any pathogens.  Because the platelets only have a shelf life of a few days, the donations are delivered to the hospitals immediately.

What are platelet concentrates used for?

  • It is an emergency medication. It is needed if there is a risk of bleeding due to the patient's low platelet count, which can be the case with various clinical pictures. For example, bleeding after accidents (together with blood preserves), in oncological patients undergoing cytostatic therapy or when platelet production is reduced in the case of bone marrow damage.
  • We check each of our plasma donors to see whether a platelet donation is also an option, provided that the initial platelet count is sufficiently high.
  • If you are interested in platelet donation, then simply talk to our doctor. To be able to donate thrombocytes, you must have donated plasma at least once.

All our plasma centres

Donate plasma in Austria

Vienna 9th district
Phone: +43 1 319 53 63

Vienna 21st  district
Phone: +43 1 908 11 00

Retz
Phone: +43 2942 20 333

St. Pölten
Phone: +43 2742 90 333

Hainburg an der Donau
Phone: +43 2165 52 024

Seiersberg
Phone: +43 316 29 33 33

Leoben
Phone: +43 3842 44 404