Cryoprecipitate transfusions

illustration of a yellow plasma drop
So, what is it?

Cryoprecipitate is the part of plasma that contains a number of clotting proteins (factors) that help control bleeding. It's made by thawing fresh frozen plasma (FFP) between 1 and 6˚C and then collecting the cold-insoluble proteins (precipitate). This is then refrozen for storage and thawed again when someone needs it.

Lady holding a blue question mark
What does cryoprecipitate do in the body?

Blood clotting is really important when you’re bleeding. Cryoprecipitate has specific proteins involved in clotting, including:

  • fibrinogen (essential for effective blood clotting)
  • Factor VIII (the protein missing in patients with haemophilia A)
  • Factor XIII (helps stabilise clots), and
  • von Willebrand factor (helps the platelets stick together).

Why might I need a cryoprecipitate transfusion?

If you have low levels of some clotting proteins, in particular fibrinogen. Clotting proteins work together to help control bleeding or reduce the risk of bleeding.

The most common use of cryoprecipitate is for a patient needing a large number of blood components at one time — commonly called a massive transfusion.

Are there options other than a cryoprecipitate transfusion?

Some of the clotting proteins in cryoprecipitate are available in specific concentrates or in recombinant (synthetic) forms. Your doctor will usually recommend these if they're available, due to fewer complications.

However, sometimes a cryoprecipitate transfusion is the only option and has the potential to improve your health or save your life.

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