DOI: 10.1111/vox.13512 ISSN:

A donor safety evidence literature review of the short‐ and long‐term effects of plasmapheresis

Veronica C. Hoad, Johanna Castrén, Rut Norda, Joanne Pink
  • Hematology
  • General Medicine


Many blood establishments are expanding plasmapheresis collection capacity to achieve increasing plasma for fractionation volume targets, driven by immunoglobulin product demand. Some adverse events occur in both apheresis and whole blood collection, such as venepuncture‐related trauma and vasovagal reactions. Others are specifically related to the apheresis procedure, such as citrate reactions, haemolysis, infiltration and air embolism. Whilst plasmapheresis procedures are generally well tolerated, theoretical longer term donor health considerations, such as the effects on donor plasma protein levels, bone mineral density, iron deficiency and malignancy also require consideration. An evidence‐based framework that supports a safe and sustainable increase in the collection of plasma is essential. Our review demonstrates a lack of high‐quality evidence on risks and outcomes specifically in plasmapheresis. Whilst conservative procedural controls and donor harm minimization policies will mitigate risk, high‐quality evidence is needed to facilitate practice change that is safe and sustainable and maximizes the potential of individual donor differences.

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