AFSOC first AF unit to hold fresh-dried plasma

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Dennis Spain
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Bleeding out can take as little as 20 seconds. During combat operations these seconds can be crucial to saving a life and completing the mission.

To keep troops ready to fight any time, any place, personnel with the 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron now have more than 50 units of fresh-dried plasma at Hurlburt Field, Fla., May 30. This FDP is blood plasma that is freeze dried by French Food and Drug Administration equivalent. Hemorrhaging is the leading cause of preventable death in combat, making FDP a valuable resource due to its excellent clotting properties.

"[Current forms of] frozen plasma [used in combat] must be gradually warmed before it’s ready for injection, which can take up to 30 minutes,” said Bill Barnes, the blood program manager with Air Force Special Operations Command. “It is difficult to keep the plasma frozen at the right temperature during deployed missions. With [FDP], you can mix it with water, and it's ready to use in five minutes."

FDP has been around for decades, however, the United States Special Operations Command decided to explore its use in contrast to using fresh-frozen plasma since it can’t survive in deployed environments.

"Often times, [Air Commandos] are beyond the reach-back capability to use frozen plasma," said Dan Dumas, the deputy of medical modernization with AFSOC. "[However], they can have the freeze-dried plasma ready to go at a moment’s notice."
Having FDP readily available gets our Air Commandos treated faster and gets them back into the fight as soon as possible.

Use of FDP is established by an agreement with the French FDA equivalent that is handled under the FDA's Investigational New Drug protocol, which permits the Air Force to obtain the product prior to FDA's approval.

“Having agreements that grant the United States access to products like FDP strengthen and develop joint leaders, and promote the US’s warfighting capability,” said Barnes.

Currently, the distribution of the FDP is handled by the USSOCOM, and AFSOC is taking part in leading the charge in improving efficiency in global special operations.

For more information, call the AFSOC blood program manager at (850)-884-3376.