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Devon Air Ambulance improves on board life saving treatment

Devon Air Ambulance can now provide patients with blood plasma an additional life-saving treatment.

The treatment was not previously available in Devon until the patient arrived at a hospital’s Emergency Department. 

Nigel Hare, Operations Director for Devon Air Ambulance explains

In simple terms, blood is made up of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body, white blood cells which protect against and ‘eat up’ infection, and plasma, which amongst other things contains the clotting agents which helps blood to clot when you are bleeding.

All blood products, including plasma, need to be kept cold, but then warmed up to near body temperature immediately prior to administering to the patient. This has logistical challenges outside of a hospital, especially on a helicopter, so to help us to provide a safer and more reliable service we are now carrying a recent innovation, freeze dried plasma called LyoPlas.

If a patient is bleeding severely, giving them plasma provides them with additional support to enable their body to form and maintain blood clots to stem the bleeding.

The advantage of LyoPlas is that it comes in a small 250ml bottle, which is kept cool in a special insulated bag.  The freeze-dried granules are then reconstituted with body temperature sterile water.  The whole process takes just a few minutes.

Nigel concluded:

As medical technology advances, Devon Air Ambulance strives to ensure our patients benefit from the latest innovations to help provide them with the best chance of a successful outcome.

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Image credit: Devon Air Ambulance