Cryoprecipitate contains clotting proteins, fibrinogen in particular. It is most commonly used as part of a massive transfusion where large numbers of blood components are required to assist with clotting.
What is cryoprecipitate?
Cryoprecipitate contains a number of clotting proteins (factors) to help control bleeding. It is stored frozen and thawed when required. Cryoprecipitate is made by thawing fresh frozen plasma between 1–6 ˚C and recovering the cold-insoluble precipitate which is then refrozen.
What is the role of cryoprecipitate in the body?
It contains specific proteins involved in clotting. Blood clotting proteins found in cryoprecipitate include:
- Factor VIII (the protein missing in patients with haemophilia A)
- Factor XIII
- von Willebrand factor (helps the platelets stick together).
Why might I need a cryoprecipitate transfusion?
You may need a cryoprecipitate transfusion if you have low levels of some clotting proteins,
in particular one called 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. When these are available, they should be given in preference to cryoprecipitate, due to fewer complications. In some circumstances there is no other option and a cryoprecipitate transfusion has the potential to improve your health or save your life.