Tag Archives: Thawed plasma

Liquid Plasma vs FFP: Impact On Your Massive Transfusion Protocol

In my last post, I discussed the growing number of choices for plasma replacement. Today I’ll look at some work that was done that tried to determine if any one of them is better than the others when used for the massive transfusion protocol (MTP).

As noted last time, fresh frozen plasma (frozen within 8 hours, FFP) and frozen plasma (frozen within 24 hours, FP) have a shelf life of 5 days once thawed. Liquid plasma (never frozen, LQP) is good for the 21 days after the original unit was donated, plus the same 5 days, for a total of 26 days.

LQP is not used at most US trauma centers. It is more commonly used in Europe, and a study there suggested that the use of thawed plasma increased short term mortality when compared to liquid plasma. To look at this phenomenon more closely, a group from UTHSC Houston and LSU measured hemostatic profiles on both types of plasma at varying times during their useful life.

All products were analyzed with thromboelastography (TEG) and thrombogram, and platelet count and microparticles, clotting factors, and natural coagulation inhibitors were measured. They chose 10 units of thawed FFP and 10 units of LQP, and assayed them every 5 days during their useful shelf life.

Here are the factoids:

  • Platelet counts were much higher in day 0 LQP (75K) vs day 0 thawed plasma (7.5K). Even at end of shelf life, the LQP was 1.5x higher than thawed (15K vs 10K).
  • Thrombogram showed that LQP had higher endogenous thrombin production until end of shelf life
  • TEG demonstrated that LQP had a higher capacity to clot that gradually declined over time. It became similar to thawed plasma at the end of its shelf life.
                         (TEG MA for liquid (LQP) and thawed (TP) plasma
  • Most clotting factors remained stable in LQP, with the exception of Factors V and VIII, which slowly declined

Bottom line: Liquid plasma sounds like good stuff, right? Although there are a few flaws in the collection aspect of this study, it gives good evidence that never frozen plasma has better coagulation properties when compared to thawed plasma. Will this translate into better survival when used in the MTP for trauma? One would think so, but you never really know until you try it. Our hospital blood bank infrastructure isn’t prepared to handle this product yet, for the most part. What we really need is a study that shows the survival advantage when using liquid plasma compared to thawed. But don’t hold your breath. It will take a large number of patients and some fancy statistical analysis to demonstrate this. I think we’ll have to look to our military colleagues to pull this one off!

Reference: Better hemostatic profiles of never-frozen liquid plasma compared with thawed fresh frozen plasma. J Trauma 74(1):84-91, 2013.

Not All Plasma Is The Same

Trauma patients who either have, or are at risk for coagulopathy, routinely have plasma administered. This provides coagulation factors to make up for lower levels in the injured patient and promotes the ability to clot. All hospitals with a blood bank have fresh frozen plasma (FFP) on hand, and busier ones may have thawed plasma (TP) available so that the patient does not have to wait the 45 minutes or so that it takes to thaw FFP.

But does freshly thawed FFP behave like thawed plasma that’s been sitting around for a while? The University of Texas – Houston trauma group presented some work that looked at this issue at the AAST conference last September. They looked at differences between freshly thawed FFP and plasma that had been thawed for 5 days. They examined the plasma’s ability to generate thrombin, the kinetics of clot formation along with the clot’s strength and stability, and clotting factor assays.

They found that the older thawed plasma showed decreased clotting potential, as well as diminished amounts of coag factors, especially V, VIII, von Willebrand factor and Protein S. The clotting response (measured by TEG) was slower and took longer to develop the maximum amount of clot.

Bottom Line: Older thawed plasma does not function the same as freshly thawed FFP in the lab. We don’t know if this difference has clinical significance in the coagulopathic trauma patient. However, it seems prudent to ask for the freshest bags of thawed plasma during massive tranfusion in hospitals that use it.

Reference: Multiple levels of degradation diminish stored plasma’s hemostatic potential. Holcomb et al. Oral presentation #10, 69th Annual Meeting of the AAST, September 22, 2010.