What is plasma?
Plasma units contain the acellular portion of blood. It is currently obtained by plasmapheresis or from a whole blood donation after centrifugation. Labile coagulation factors, such as factors V and VIII, are unstable in plasma stored for prolonged periods at 1° to 6°C, which explains why plasma is usually stored frozen at or below -18°C. Apart from coagulation factors, plasma contains numerous other molecules, such as fibrin and immunoglobulins. It can also contain different allergens, which can cause allergic reactions in the patient who receives the transfusion. Furthermore, plasma also contains large amounts of glucose, sodium, potassium, and proteins.
What is the current information on the effects of plasma transfusions?
Epidemiological data suggest that plasma transfusions are associated with worse clinical outcomes, in both critically ill adults and children. Furthermore, plasma transfusions also seem to fail to correct mildly abnormal coagulation tests (adult and pediatric data).