Side Effects of Donating Plasma

Side Effects of Donating Plasma: Why You Shouldn’t?

Donation of plasma is one of the most common ways to generate new blood cells. But there are some potential risks associated with this procedure. If you have any concerns about these possible complications, then don’t donate plasma. There are other options available such as bone marrow transplants or stem cell treatments which offer many advantages over plasma donation.

The main risk associated with plasma donation is the possibility of infection. The risk of infection increases when donors receive multiple donations during a single visit. Blood transfusions carry a higher risk than plasma donation because they involve drawing blood from another person’s body.

However, if you do not want to donate your blood, then you can still donate platelets and red cells instead. Plasma donation carries a lower risk of infection compared to these other types of donated tissues.

Another concern is the possibility of bleeding disorders. Bleeding disorders may occur after any surgery, but they are particularly likely to happen following a blood transfusion. A number of factors can increase the risk of bleeding disorders, including age, gender, race/ethnicity and medical conditions.

For example, someone with hemophilia (an inherited disease that affects how well your body produces clotting factor) will need to use anticoagulant medication before being able to donate blood. This may put you at risk of developing a serious bleeding disorder if the drug has any negative interactions with your body.

There are some additional concerns for people who plan to become frequent platelet donors. Unlike whole blood donation, plateletpheresis only takes about 1 hour to complete. Donating a large number of platelets in a short period of time can increase your risk of certain complications.

What are the long-term risks of plasma donation?

If you are in good general health, there are few long-term risks of plasma donation. Plasma donation is not considered a dangerous activity for most people. However, this may not be the case if you have a pre-existing medical condition or other risk factors. Most importantly, you should never attempt to become a frequent plasma donor if you have a bleeding disorder or take anticoagulant drugs. While rare, serious complications may occur that could permanently affect your quality of life.

One of the most serious risks is the possibility of hyperkalemia. This condition occurs when the level of potassium in your blood rises to dangerous levels. Normally, the cells in your body contain a narrow range of concentrations of potassium.

The kidneys help to maintain this balance by removing any excess amounts through the urine. However, too much potassium in the blood can cause heart irregularities and muscle paralysis.

Even though you are only giving plasma, not whole blood, hyperkalemia can still occur if you are at risk. Donors who are dehydrated (for example, due to extreme exercise or living without access to water for many days) may be more likely to develop this condition after donation. Other risk factors for hyperkalemia include:

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Long-term use of certain drugs (such as diuretics, acetazolamide, amphotericin B, and oxyphenisatine)

Recent surgery or injury (particularly gastrointestinal bleeding)


Kidney disease

Rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown)

Any condition that affects the normal balance of electrolytes in the blood

Another serious concern is hypokalemia. This condition occurs when the level of potassium in your blood istoo low. It can cause irregular heart rhythms, leading to various complications, such as cardiac arrest.

Severe hypokalemia can even lead to death if left untreated.

Again, donors who are dehydrated may be at risk of developing hypokalemia after donation. Other risk factors include:

Cirrhosis of the liver

Congestive heart failure

Gastrointestinal disorders (such as ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease)

Long-term use of diuretics or drugs that affect the kidneys (such as ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers)

Insufficient intake of potassium (through diet or supplements)

Laxatives or other drugs that cause diarrhea

Severe burns

Significant muscle breakdown (due to injury or disease)

Surgery (especially gastrointestinal surgery)

If you are at risk for hyperkalemia or hypokalemia, you may still be able to donate plasma if appropriate safety measures are taken. Furthermore, you will need to wait for a period of time after any underlying issues have been treated. These rules are only in place to protect you as well as ensure the safety of other donors.

Finally, it’s possible that you may experience some short-term side effects after giving plasma. These are usually related to fluid balances in the body, and they generally aren’t severe enough to dissuade you from future donations.

Sources & references used in this article:

Side-effects of intravenous immune globulins. by C Duhem, MA Dicato, F Ries – Clinical and experimental …, 1994 –

Side effects and risk factors of various plasma donation methods by H Ullrich, D Wiebecke, F Keller – Beitrage zur Infusionstherapie …, 1991 –

Gone, but haven’t forgotten: insights on plasmapheresis donation from lapsed donors by R Thorpe, L Nguyen, BM Masser, N Van Dyke… – Vox …, 2020 – Wiley Online Library

5b Pre-operative autologous blood and plasma donation and retransfusion by R Karger, M Weippert-Kretschmer… – Baillière’s clinical …, 1997 – Elsevier

Immunoglobulin treatment versus plasma exchange in patients with chronic moderate to severe myasthenia gravis by J Rønager, M Ravnborg, I Hermansen… – Artificial …, 2001 – Wiley Online Library

IN VITRO DEGRADATION OF ATRACURIUM IN HUMAN PLASMA by RA Merrett, CW Thompson… – BJA: British Journal of …, 1983 –

A randomized trial of solvent/detergent‐treated and standard fresh‐frozen plasma in the coagulopathy of liver disease and liver transplantation by LM Williamson, CA Llewelyn, NC Fisher, JP Allain… – …, 1999 – Wiley Online Library

… : a double-blind randomized study based on transfusions of plasma rich in anti-human immunodeficiency virus 1 antibodies vs. transfusions of seronegative plasma by D Vittecoq, S Chevret… – Proceedings of the …, 1995 – National Acad Sciences