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Trima Systems: State-of-the-Art Systems for Saving Lives

Have you ever donated whole blood and wondered about the fancy machines some donors are hooked up to? 

Trima Accel® Automated Blood Collection System, AKA Trima systems, are industry leading apheresis machines. These systems give us the ability to draw out one specific component part of whole blood while safely returning the remaining component parts to the donor. The result is less fluid loss and higher quantities of specific blood products collected for patients in need. 

What’s in your blood? 

There’s more to blood than just red cells. You’ve got all kinds of good things flowing through your veins! 

Much of your blood is plasma (55 percent). Plasma carries vitamins, fats, and proteins throughout the body.  

The layer between plasma and red blood cells is called the “buffy coat.” In it are platelets that help blood clot if you get a cut, and white blood cells that aid your immune system. 

Finally, we have red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body.

Now that you’re a blood expert, let’s dive into apheresis.  

How does a Trima system work? 

First, the Trima system takes in a donor’s whole blood. Then, it separates the blood using a closed-loop centrifuge. This spins the blood really fast and voila! You now have three component parts neatly separated. 

After your blood goes for a whirl, the Trima system reserves the components you have elected to donate, and it safely returns all the other components back to your veins.  

In addition to blood collection for donation, apheresis can be used as a type of therapy for people with certain conditions. When this happens, it’s called “extracorporeal”—a medical procedure happening outside the human body. An example of this would be specifically removing malignant white blood cells from someone diagnosed with leukemia. 

And now, some fun facts: 

  • The apheresis machine has been around since 1972 and was invented by Herb Cullis.
  • You can donate platelets every two (2) weeks. 
  • You can donate plasma every 28 days. 
  • Although the universal blood type is O negative (O-), the universal type for plasma is AB! 

San Diego Blood Bank Foundation is raising funds to purchase 14 new Trima systems. To date, they have purchased 10 Trima systems and still need four more to reach their goal. Consider making a gift today!