By placing dried blood plasma close to patients, treatment that means the difference between life and death can begin earlier, says Torunn Oveland Apelseth, chief medical officer at Haukeland University Hospital.
Hoekland University Hospital will now be the first hospital in the country to produce dried blood plasma. Work on product development can begin after Helse Bergen recently received 15 million NOK from Innovation Norway.
Blood plasma is the pale yellow fluid in which blood cells are located and makes up about 55 percent of the body’s blood volume. An adult has between five and six liters of blood.
The dried blood plasma will be used by ambulances, air ambulances, local hospitals, the armed forces and the municipal health service.
You will be self sufficient
The goal is for Norway to become self-sufficient in dry plasma used to treat patients with life-threatening bleeding.
Initiating a blood transfusion quickly reduces deaths from severe bleeding. It’s easy to store and take your dried blood plasma with you, says project manager Torunn Oveland Apelseth.
Abelseth typically works as a department chair in the Department of Immunology and Transfusion Medicine. Over the past two years, the department has worked with the armed forces and colleagues from Sweden and Finland to develop dried blood plasma.
Today, dried plasma is produced only in Germany, France and South Africa. Only the Red Cross in Germany is certified as a plasma supplier to Norway.
– Persistent delivery problems give Norway uncertain access and poor preparedness, says Apelseth.
Dried plasma is produced by blood plasma that is isolated from whole blood and dried. When it is used, sterile water is added.
Shelf life 15 months
The advantage is that dried plasma is valid for 15 months, unlike fresh blood that expires after 21-35 days, says the president.
Today, dried blood plasma imported by the air ambulance service is used in this country. Here you see great advantages with national production.
It is critical that lost blood is replaced for patients as quickly as possible, so stable access to dried blood plasma will greatly enhance our preparedness, says anesthesiologist Christopher Birkvik.
He works for air ambulance in Bergen and says they need to supply patients with blood on emergency calls every week.
“Blood plasma will also be important in the event of unexpected bleeding during surgery or childbirth, traffic accidents, violent accidents, or, for example, for people who take blood-thinning medications and have bleeding from stomach ulcers,” says the anesthesiologist.
Both the air ambulance anesthetist and the project manager believe that Norway as a country is in a special position when it comes to challenges in ensuring equal access to treatment recommended for patients with severe bleeding.
Important to the provinces
– People who live in regions, especially those who live in northern Norway, have a long commute to hospital. In addition, ambulance transport is often difficult. Therefore, we must establish good systems to ensure local access to transfusions for patients with life-threatening bleeding, she says.
Hauckland University Hospital is now working to connect actors who can contribute to the development of the project further.
We are looking for expertise in blood drying as well as proper packaging and appropriate size on packages. If everything goes according to plan, the product will be ready in 2-3 years, says project manager Torunn Oveland Apelseth.
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