Thawed Plasma

In simple terms, Thawed Plasma is simply a new name for a previously frozen plasma product that has been thawed for more than 24 hours and less than 5 days. I almost always refer to it as “Thawed Capital P Plasma” to distinguish it from a generic “thawed plasma” product. I know, you still may not get it, but keep reading!

The two most common plasma products used in the US for transfusion are called Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) and Plasma Frozen within 24 Hours of Collection (PF24). When either FFP or PF24 is thawed for transfusion, it must be stored in the refrigerator (at 1-6C) if not transfused immediately. According to the FDA, either product has only a 24 hour shelf life after we thaw it. However, the “”Circular of Information” and AABB Standards both describe a pathway to allow us to use that thawed product beyond the FDA limit of 24 hours. The trick, though, is that if you are going to transfuse it more than 24 hours after you thaw it, you have to give the product a new name! That new name? You guessed it: “Thawed Plasma.”

After “the product formerly known as FFP” (or “PF24”) is re-labeled as “Thawed Plasma” (note the CAPITAL “T” and “P”), it is stored under the same conditions as it was for the first 24 hours after thawing (i.e., 1-6C) for up to 5 days. Most facilities use Thawed Plasma for exactly the same indications as the original plasma component, with the possible exception that, due to the documented decrease in factor VIII and to a lesser extent factors V and protein S, some will limit its use in cases of consumptive coagulopathies like DIC. Transfusion services use this shelf life extension to keep a supply of already thawed plasma for urgent situations, with less risk of expiration. Thawed Plasma is especially useful for hospitals that serve trauma patients, as trauma surgeons expect plasma to be ready to transfuse as soon as the patient gets to the trauma bay (if not before). Like Liquid Plasma, Thawed Plasma is very useful as a “bridge” product to use until a better, freshly thawed unit of FFP or PF24 is ready to transfuse.

Here’s the thing: This is one of the few processes we use in the US blood banks that is not recognized by the FDA. However, FDA has chosen not to weigh in on this (so far), so doing this is also not prohibited by FDA!

You should also know that you can do the same “new name” thing for the less commonly used product called “PF24RT24″, as well as for the REALLY uncommonly used Plasma Cryoprecipitate Reduced (technically, that product must be re-labeled as “Thawed Plasma Cryoprecipitate Reduced,” but the principle is the same).

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