Use of FFP & Cryoprecipitate (bsh 2018)




Fresh Frozen Plasma

  • Since 2012 there has been a reduction in the use of FFP in UK, but a rise in SD-FFP use

  • 2009 audit – 43% of FFP transfusion given as prophylaxis before procedures (not good)


  • Use is increasing, doubled since 2003. Reason is unclear.




FFP Indications

  • Correction of multi-factor deficiencies in major haemorrhage / DIC with bleeding

  • Plasma exchange only when for TTP

  • Limited role as prophylaxis prior to liver biopsy

  • Single factor deficiencies if no fractionated product available – i.e. Factor V


FFP NOT Indicated

  • DIC without bleeding

  • Warfarin reversal without bleeding

  • Correcting vit K deficiency in neonates or ITU adults.

  • Correction of hypovolaemia




Complications of particular concern with FFP

  • TRALI (reduced by use of male donors)

  • Donor anti-A and anti-B

  • Allergic reactions

  • vCJD (non-UK donors + Pathogen reduction for anyone born after 1.1.1996)


Choice of FFP


No difference between FFP recovered from whole blood versus plasmapheresis

If likely to receive multiple repeat transfusions

  • Consider pathogen-reduced plasma (MB or SD)

  • Consider Hep A and Hep B vaccination

Group O FFP must only be given to Group O patients

A,B,AB patients should receive there own group as first choice, but different group FFP may be used if high-titre negative.

Products of any Rh D group may be transfused, no anti-D prophylaxis is required.


 Preparation, Contents & Storage


Fresh Frozen Plasma

180-400ml per pack

From male whole blood or apheresis donors

Not from first time donors

Na 48 mmol/unit, K 1.0 mmol/unit, glucose, calcium (low), citrate, lactate, phosphate

Collection rapidly frozen to -25oC

Plastic packs brittle whilst frozen, handle with care

Can be stored for 36 months at below -25 oC

Factor content requirement

  • Minimum of 70 IU/ml of FVIII in at least 75% of tested packs



1 unit = 20-60ml.

1 pool / 1 adult dose = 5 units = 200-280ml

The cryoglobulin fraction obtained from plasma by slow thawing of a single FFP donation at 4 degrees overnight (one unit). This is then re-suspended in small volume of plasma.

FVIII, VWF, FXIII, fibronectin and fibrinogen

Can be stored for 36 months at below -25 oC

Factor content requirement

  • Minimum of 70 IU/ml of FVIII & 140mg of FGN in at least 75% of tested packs


Pathogen Reduction

All patients born after 1st Jan 1996

Good at reducing levels of enveloped viruses

But not good at reducing non-enveloped viruses (Hep A/E, Parvo). Units tested for these.

MB-FFP (NHSBT) has 30-40% lower FVIII, FXI and fibrinogen activity

SD-FFP (Octaplas) also has lower Protein S and antiplasmin


Thawing FFP



Dry heat agitators – limited capacity

Microwave – limited capacity, ?risk of hot spots

Water bath – most common, pack does not come into direct contact with water


Temperature of thawing

33-37oC recommended.

Ranges from 4 – 45oC have been used


Storage after thawing


Fresh Frozen Plasma

Store at 2-4oC

Transfuse within 24 hours of thawing

  • Transfuse within 4 hours of removal from temp-controlled storage

Pre-thawed plasma can be used up to 120 hours in major trauma.

  • It can be accepted back into temp-controlled storage on one occasion of <30 min

  • 30 min is based on expert opinion. Further work ongoing. Advice may change.

  • Purpose of pre-thawing is to reduce delays in major trauma

  • With exception of protein C, all factors decrease between 24 and 120 hours, FVIII most rapidly and to the greatest extent.



The shelf-life is not extended beyond 24 hours, due to already lower factor levels.


Licensed medicinal product and so directed by manufacturer.



Use immediately once thawed

Store at ambient temperature for maximum of 4 hours


FFP in non-bleeding patients


Muller 2015

  • Non-bleeding, critically ill patients with INR 1.5-3.0 about to undergo invasive procedure

  • Randomised to 12ml/kg FFP or no FFP

  • FFP only marginal improvement in factor levels

  • Thrombin generation was unaffected, and anticoagulant levels rose


Unfortunately, no quality evidence yet to recommend abandoning use of FFP prior to procedures, although it seems that is probably safe. Someone needs to do the study!


Drolz 2016 (Liver disease)

  • PT bore no relevance to bleeding risk in acutely ill cirrhotic patients on ITU

  • FGN <0.6 and plt <30 were the most important predictors of bleeding


Garcia-Tsao 2017 (Variceal bleeds)

  • American association for the study of liver disease

  • Recommend against FFP in variceal bleed

  • May aggravate bleeding through an increase in portal hypertension