Liquid Plasma

Transfusion medicine continually evolves with the demands of modern healthcare. One key component gaining traction in various clinical scenarios, notably trauma, is liquid plasma. This article delves into the specifics of liquid plasma, its applications, and its significance in today's medical landscape.

What is Liquid Plasma?
Liquid Plasma
Never frozen!

Liquid plasma (LP or LQP) is essentially plasma that has not been frozen after being separated from whole blood or apheresis collections. Unlike fresh frozen plasma (FFP) or thawed plasma, which undergoes freezing and thawing processes, LP is stored at refrigerator temperatures from the time of collection until its expiration.

Why Choose Liquid Plasma?

  1. Rapid Availability: In emergent situations, especially trauma, the quick availability of LP can be life-saving. There's no need to wait for the thawing process, as with FFP. However LP, is typically used as a 'bridge' so to speak. Patients are given LP until FFP is finished thawing which can often take up to 30 minutes.
  2. Extended Shelf Life: While FFP needs to be used soon after thawing (5 days max), LP can be stored refrigerated for up to 26 days post-collection.
  3. Efficacy: LP contains vital clotting factors in amounts similar to FFP, making it effective for coagulopathy reversal.

Applications of Liquid Plasma

  1. Trauma and Massive Transfusion Protocols (MTP): The immediate availability of LP can be crucial in trauma settings where rapid blood component administration is required, such as a Massive Transfusion Protocol initiation.
  2. Cardiac Surgery: Some centers use LP for patients undergoing cardiac procedures to manage bleeding complications.
  3. Liver Disease: LP can assist in clotting factor replacement for patients with liver diseases.

Advantages of Using Liquid Plasma

  1. Immediate Use: No thawing time ensures rapid administration to patients.
  2. Reduction in Wastage: The longer shelf life of LP compared to thawed plasma reduces the potential for wastage.
  3. Safety: LP undergoes the same infectious disease testing as other blood components, ensuring patient safety.

Challenges with Liquid Plasma

  1. Storage Requirements: To maintain its efficacy, LP requires strict refrigerated storage conditions.
  2. Limited Availability: Not all blood centers or hospitals stock LP regularly, potentially limiting its widespread use.
  3. Cost: Producing and storing LP might have associated costs that some institutions find prohibitive.
  4. Patient Volume: Ensuring that LP is used before expiration really hinges on a busy Transfusion Medicine department. Smaller hospitals would likely not find using Liquid Plasma feasible. Larger hospitals with a dedicated trauma program are more likely to successfully utilize Liquid Plasma. 

Looking Ahead

Liquid plasma's role in transfusion medicine is undeniable. Its use in trauma settings underscores its potential to save lives when every second counts. As more clinical evidence emerges supporting its efficacy, it's likely that LP will find even broader applications.

However, as with all medical products, it's essential to weigh the benefits against potential challenges. Proper storage, understanding its indications, and ensuring timely use will determine its place in the medical arsenal.

Liquid plasma offers a promising solution in the rapidly evolving domain of transfusion medicine. Its increasing prominence in trauma care and other clinical situations highlights the need for continued research and understanding of its optimal use.