Background and Objectives: Heparinized plasma can be used for exchange transfusions in neonates and is usually collected by drawing whole blood using heparin as anticoagulant. The heparinized red blood cells and buffy coat cannot be used and are therefore discarded. To collect heparinized plasma more efficiently, a method was developed using an apheresis machine. Materials and Methods: With an MCS3p apheresis machine (Haemonetics), plasma was collected from volunteer donors as anticoagulant, heparin in saline (30,000 IU/l) was added in a 1:9 ratio. The activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) of the donors was measured before and immediately after the procedure, and various parameters were determined in the collected plasma. Results: In 2 collection cycles, an average of 456±52 ml (mean ± SD; n = 20) of heparinized plasma was collected, and 504±57 ml (n = 2; donors with a high hemoglobin level) when 3 cycles were performed. The leukocyte and platelet contamination in the plasma (n = 22) was 1.11±0.92×106 and 0.05±0.22×109 per unit, respectively, which conformed to national specifications. Sodium levels were normal, but due to dilution of the plasma with heparin solution, potassium and calcium levels were about 20% lower than the serum levels in the donors. The donor APTT values were slightly longer after the procedure than before, but remained all within normal values. Conclusion: For the collection of heparinized plasma, apheresis has the advantage that (1) high–quality heparinized plasma can be harvested; (2) no blood components need to be discarded; (3) more plasma can be harvested with each donation, and (4) these procedures can be performed more often than whole blood donations.

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