Difference between serum and plasma

The serum is the liquid part of blood after letting remove clot, while the plasma is the liquid portion of blood, which is obtained when the process is prevented from clotting.

Clinical analysis laboratories can use serum and / or plasma to measure different blood compounds as a means to aid in the diagnosis of an individual’s health status.

SerumPlasma
DefinitionLiquid part of the blood after clotting.Liquid part of the blood when clotting is inhibited.
ObtainingCentrifugation of blood without anticoagulants.Centrifugation of blood with anticoagulants.
UseSerological testsClinical biochemistry tests: glucose, cholesterol, urea, enzymes.

Coagulation tests: PT, PTT, fibrinogen.

Density1,024 g/ml1,025 g/ml
AppearanceLight yellowishLight yellowish
CompositionWater, albumin, globulins, lipoproteins, amino acids, hormones, ions, glucoseThe same as serum, plus fibrinogen and clotting factors.

What is blood serum?

The serum is the liquid obtained from the blood when this is then allowed to coagulate extraction. It is used in a number of clinical and biochemical trials. Importantly, serum is not a part of the blood, but is the result of allowing the blood to clot outside the body.

How is serum obtained from blood?

The serum comes from the blood obtained from an arterial or venous puncture without anticoagulant. The blood is allowed to clot and the fibrin, blood cells and platelets are separated from the serum by means of centrifugation.

To obtain the serum, wait at least one hour at room temperature before centrifugation, to ensure that the coagulation process is carried out in its entirety.

What is blood plasma?

Plasma is the liquid part of the blood. Blood is mainly made up of:

  • A cellular component : includes white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
  • An acellular component : made up of plasma , where proteins are dissolved, such as coagulation factors, albumin, lipoproteins, calcium, sodium, potassium, hormones and glucose, among other compounds.

Plasma is used in different biochemical tests, particularly it is used to measure glucose, which is artificially reduced in serum.

How is plasma obtained from blood?

Plasma is obtained from blood obtained with an anticoagulant, a compound that prevents clotting. Blood is drawn by venipuncture and placed in vacuum-sealed tubes containing the required amount of anticoagulant.

Commonly used anticoagulants are EDTA, heparin, or citrate. The use of each depends on the type of chemical tests to be carried out.

The plasma is then separated from the solid elements in the blood by means of centrifugation. Plasma can be obtained quickly as it does not need a waiting time to produce clotting, as in the case of serum.

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