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Difference Between Blood and Plasma

bloodBlood vs Plasma

Blood is a liquid substance pushed out by the heart. It travels in the different parts of the body through the arteries and capillaries, and returns to the heart through the veins. The system that is responsible for transporting the blood inside the body is the circulatory system. The blood contains substances such as minerals, proteins and nutrients that are needed for the development of cells, tissues and organs. It is said that blood is the food of the body’s system. An adult male contains approximately five to six liters of blood, and an adult female has approximately four to five liters of blood. Children have about three liters of blood in their body.

It is also the blood that carries oxygen (O2) through the body, and eliminates carbon dioxide (CO2), and other waste products, from the body. The blood, when extracted from a person, is considered as the whole blood. It has three components, which includes red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), plasma, and platelets. These components are usually separated in order to use them for transfusion. It is not very often that whole blood is used for transfusion; with the exclusion of heart surgeries and sickle-cell diseases, where there is a large amount of blood loss. Besides the nutrients it carries, it also carries immune responses, and serves as a heat distributor for the body. The red blood cells of the blood takes longer to replenish, about 3 to 5 weeks, and contains antigens that can endanger one’s life if the donor and the receiver’s blood is mismatched, when it is transfused. Blood is crucial for the continuation of life.

Plasma is usually quoted as the substance that stays behind in the blood when the red blood cells are taken out. It is the yellow, liquid part of the whole blood, which makes up 55 percent of the whole blood, and it is about 90 percent water. As the major component of blood, it is more widely used for transfusion, especially for victims of burns, trauma, and those suffering from physiological collapse. It contains clotting factors that impedes excessive blood flow from open wounds. Patients who are suffering from hemophiliac disease are frequently transfused with plasma.

Since it can be replenished faster than RBC (approximately within 24 hours), plasma can be donated up to twice a week. One process used to treat several autoimmune diseases, is plasmapheresis, or plasma exchange. It is a procedure wherein blood is cleansed for therapeutic purposes. It is safer to donate plasma, because it has antibodies which fight off infection and any harmful substances. Antibodies in plasma are quickly modified, making it conducive to donate when there’s a mismatched donor and recipient. It can be extracted, and saved in a freezer for a year. When it is taken out and defrosted, it is called Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP), and the small portion that comes apart after being frozen and defrosted, is called cryoprecipitate.

Summary:

1. Blood is the very substance extracted from the body, while plasma is one of the components of blood.
2. Whole blood is used for sickle-cell anemia patients, and those who are undergoing heart surgeries, while plasma is usually use for hemophiliacs, or burn, trauma and collapsed patients.
3. Plasma is safer to transfuse if an incompatibility risk is possible.
4. Plasma can be replenished faster than RBC.
5. Plasma contains a clotting factor to stop bleeding.


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2 Comments

  1. Very helpful. Just needed a quick breakdown and this did it well.

  2. Really very helpful, many thanks!

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