Blood vs. Plasma

Difference Between Blood and Plasma

Blood is a liquid substance pumped by the heart. It travels in different parts of the body through arteries and capillaries and returns to the heart through the veins. The system that is responsible for carrying blood to the body is called the circulatory system. The blood contains substances such as minerals, proteins and foods that are necessary for the development of cells, tissues and organs. It is said that blood is the food system of the body. An adult male has about five to six liters of blood and an adult female has about four to five liters of blood. Children have about three liters of blood in their bodies.

Blood is responsible for carrying oxygen (O2) throughout the body and removing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other unused body nutrients. The blood, when taken from a person, is considered the whole blood. It has three components, including red blood cells (RBC), leukocytes (WBC), plasma and platelets. These components are usually separated for use of blood transfusion. It’s not common that the complete blood is used for blood transfusion with the exception of heart surgeries and sickle cell disease, where a lot of blood has been lost. In addition to food that is transported, it also facilitates immune responses and acts as a distributor of heat for the body. The red cells of the blood take longer to recover, about 3 to 5 weeks and contain antigens that can be life-threatening if the blood donor and the receiver are mismatched when it is transfused. Blood is essential for the continuation of life.

The plasma is usually cited as the substance that remains in the blood when red blood cells are removed. This is the yellow, liquid whole blood, which constitutes 55 percent of whole blood and is about 90 percent water. As the major component of blood, it is more widely used for blood transfusion, especially for victims of trauma, burns or those who suffer from the problem of physiological collapse. It also contains clotting factors that impedes blood flow to open wounds. Patients who suffer from Hemophiliac diseases are constantly transfused with plasma.

Since it can be replenished faster than RBC (approximately in 24 hours) the plasma can be donated up to twice a week. One process used to treat many diseases autoimmune diseases is plasmapheresis or plasma exchange. It is a procedure where blood is cleaned for therapeutic purposes. It is safe to donate plasma because it has antibodies which overcome the infection and any harmful substances. The antibodies in the plasma are quickly modified, making it conducive when there is a mismatch between the donor and recipient. It can be extracted and saved in a freezer for a year. When it is brought out and defrosted, it is called fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and  the small portion that breaks after frozen and defrosting, is called cryoprecipitate.


1. The blood is the actual liquid substance removed from the body, while the plasma is a component of blood.

2. Whole blood is used for patients with sickle cell anemia and those undergoing heart surgeries, while the plasma is usually use for Hemophiliac, or burn, trauma and collapsed patients.

3. Plasma transfusion is safer if there is a risk of incompability.

4. The plasma can be restored faster than RBC.

5. The plasma contains   coagulant to stop bleeding.



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