Everything you Need to Know about Plasma and Plasma Storage
Welcome to the world of plasma storage. Here we’ll dive into all things plasma—from composition and science to storage and preservation. To start, let’s define exactly what plasma is and why it needs specialized preservation.
Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood used for specific medical treatments. According to WebMD, “Plasma is made up of about 90% water. It also has salts and enzymes. And it has antibodies that help fight infection…Plasma makes up the biggest part of your blood: about 55%.”1
Besides water, the remaining 10% of plasma consists of dissolved substances such as proteins, electrolytes, and waste products.2 Although blood is red, plasma alone is a pale yellow. Plasma is used in laboratories to develop advanced treatments for diseases. It’s also used to treat cancer and certain rare disorders. Plasma is a life-giving substance in the world of medical treatments.
Donated plasma is used to create life-saving therapies for various medical conditions. Plasma can be donated through a process called plasmapheresis. Plasma donation is a somewhat time-consuming process, usually taking around 90 minutes from start to finish.3 Because of this, donation centers compensate donors for their time and plasma.
Perhaps you’ve heard a friend say that they were going to donate plasma to bring in some extra money. But beware of less-than-professional establishments wanting to take your plasma. Make sure any donation center you consider is a professional medical institution. You don’t want to put your body or health in danger. With the shortage of plasma donors, safe storage of this substance is also crucial. It should be handled and preserved with care.
Fresh plasma storage requires a frozen temperature of -18 °C or below. Since plasma is a sensitive blood product, it must be stored in a specially designed blood plasma freezer for safety and efficacy. Plasma freezers meet FDA requirements to ensure that patients receive the plasma in prime condition when administered.
Blood plasma freezers are Class II medical devices that must meet FDA standards. Plasma freezers are strictly regulated by the FDA—and for good reason. Precise temperatures must be maintained to preserve the potency and efficacy of the plasma.
Ultimately, these freezers combine temperature performance and reliability to protect plasma and deliver it safely and effectively to the end patient.
Plasma freezers are used in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, blood banks, and diagnostic centers. Each plasma freezer should meet safety compliance standards and protect plasma contents to the highest level of performance as expected in all medical systems.
What features do you need in a plasma freezer? While priorities for your specific application can vary, here are some features to look for when you’re getting started:
Compressors are a big deal when it comes to plasma cold storage performance. Variable speed compressors reduce energy consumption and improve temperature control—both incredibly beneficial features when it comes to sensitive plasma freezing.
Plasma storage equipment that charts temperature ranges or provides access to digital data logging is vital. Consider smart controllers with data logging capabilities or try tracking temperatures through a chart recording device. Because tracking temperature data is required with plasma cold storage, having digital or built-in tracking methods is incredibly helpful. Look for a plasma freezer with a and easy-to-use monitoring features for everyday use.
Think about ease of access when it comes to reaching your stored contents. Quick and safe access to your plasma is time-saving and convenient. It will also keep energy consumption lower through shorter door openings and quicker temperature recovery. Sliding drawers can also offer easy access and a clear view of stored contents. Stainless steel construction is a bonus, since this material is trusted in medical products, easy to clean, and durable.
Having a plasma freezer with a battery backup can give you greater peace of mind. A battery backup will keep your controller running, your alarms activated, and freezer temperatures monitored during a power loss.
Blood plasma freezers often use blood simulator sensors to monitor conditions inside a plasma freezer. Thermal ballasts or glycerol bottles may be used for monitoring temperature ranges. These features will provide valuable data for plasma storage temperatures.
Consider the size, dimensions, and storage capacity of your plasma freezer. You may want to measure the available space you have in your laboratory. Some suppliers will allow you to customize certain features such as additional drawers, and other helpful accessories. Though these minor details may seem small, individual high-quality components can optimize your plasma freezer experience, both now and for years to come.
Certifications are important to look out for in prospective plasma freezers. These include Energy Star certification and UL or ETL electrical listings. These certifications are industry trusted standards that can give you confidence in your buying choice. Devices that come with integrated customer support and quality service teams can also protect your purchase in the long run. Above all, make sure each prospective plasma freezer is compliant with FDA guidelines. It is also beneficial to find a plasma freezer in compliance with the AABB Standards-Compliant Product Program. This program is a trusted standard in the blood storage community.
Plasma deserves safekeeping. Many patients rely on this vital substance for life and health. Plasma freezers are vital to keep your plasma safe. So as you embark on your plasma storage journey, focus on equipment that’s performance-driven and built to last.
You won’t regret it.
Corepoint®️ Scientific provides a full range of temperature-controlled equipment to our customers across the clinical, laboratory, and industrial segments. Explore Corepoint™ blood bank refrigerators or visit corepointscientific.com.