Devon’s Air Ambulance can now provide additional life saving treatment. The crew will now be carrying LyoPlas – a part of the blood which helps it to clot.  Nigel Hare, Operations Director for Devon Air Ambulance explains “In simple terms, blood is made up of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body; white blood cells which protect against and ‘eat up’ infection, and plasma, which amongst other things contains the clotting agents which helps blood to clot when you are bleeding.

Clotting agents

All blood products; including plasma, need to be keep cold, but then warmed up to near body temperature immediately prior to administering to the patient. This has logistical challenges outside of a hospital; especially on a helicopter; so to help us to provide a safer and more reliable service we are now carrying a recent innovation; freeze fried plasma called LyoPlas”.

He added “If a patient is bleeding severely; giving them plasma provides them with additional support to enable their body to form and maintain blood clots to stem the bleeding.” Nigel concludes “As medical technology advances; Devon Air Ambulance strives to ensure our patients benefit from the latest innovations to help provide them with the best chance of a successful outcome. Without our fantastic supporters none of these developments would be possible.

Carrying a recent innovation

We are particularly grateful to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and Devon Free wheelers in helping us to add plasma to the other life-saving treatments we are able to provide our patients. Therefore ”Plasma is the non cellular fraction of blood which transports red cells; white cells and platelets. It is an aqueous solution of salts, proteins, lipids, sugars and various other substances serving a myriad of physiological functions.

Plasma is obtain for clinical use either by centrifugation of anticoagulat whole blood and collection of the supernatant or as source plasma from a plasma pheresis program (see below). Because If plasma is allow to clot; the residual liquid is call serum. Essentially; serum is plasma minus the clotting factors V, VIII and fibrinogen which are consume during clot formation.

Plasma collection facilities

The process of plasma collection is regulated by the FDA. Many plasma collection facilities belong to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA); which offers an International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP) certification requiring that facilities meet voluntary standards established by the PPTA. In addition, WHO has published guidelines pertaining to plasma collection.