More than 40 percent of the blood donated annually in Taiwan is unable to be used to manufacture blood plasma, Taiwan Blood Services Foundation chairperson Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川) said yesterday at an international seminar on blood plasma.
Blood plasma, extracted from blood by spinning a tube of fresh blood in a centrifuge containing anticoagulant, is responsible for holding blood cells in whole blood in suspension and is used as a protein reserve for the body.
Yeh said that more than half of the donated blood supply is unable to be processed into blood plasma, partly due to insufficient blood mass and partly due to the blood not meeting the requirements for it to be made into blood plasma.
Most of Taiwan’s donated blood is sent to Australia for processing into blood plasma due to a lack of domestic facilities.
Taiwan’s blood donation bags come in two sizes, 250cc and 500cc, of which only the 500cc can be processed into blood plasma products, as the lowest amount required is 400cc, Yeh said.
Over 1.2 million people have donated blood in 250cc bags, while only 650,000 have donated blood in 500cc quantities, Yeh said.
However, blood that is not made into blood plasma is not wasted, Yeh said, adding that most is directly distributed to hospitals to provide blood for whole blood transfusions.
Taipei Medical University Graduate Institute of Biomedical Materials and Tissue Engineering director Thierry Burnouf said medical studies have shown that only people who weigh more than 60kg are considered “physically safe” to donate blood in 500cc quantities as their bodies’ reproduction of cells and blood are capable of sustaining the loss.
Burnouf said Taiwan has the highest blood donation rate in Asia and encouraged more people to donate up to 500cc of blood to help the nation increase its blood plasma reserves.
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