Transfusion of Blood or Blood Products

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More Information

What is transfusion of blood or blood products?

A blood transfusion is a medical procedure in which blood is provided to you through a tube placed within a vein on your arm. This procedure can help replace blood lost during surgery or due to any injury. It is also useful if you are suffering from any disease that prevents your body from making enough blood components like blood cancer.

Why would I get a blood transfusion?

Blood transfusions are given in special cases as in an injury, surgery, or any bleeding disorder. During the transfusion,  you will receive several components of the blood, including:

Red blood cells: they carry oxygen from your lungs to your organs.

White blood cells: they are your immune system and help you fight infections.

Plasma: it is the liquid part of your blood and consists mainly of water and electrolytes.

Platelets: they help you stop bleeding after injury by forming blood clots.

What happens during the procedure?

An intravenous (IV) line is inserted into one of the veins in your arms. The donated blood, which is usually stored in plastic bags, enters your bloodstream through the connected IV line.

A nurse will monitor you during the procedure and take measures of your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The procedure usually takes one to four hours.

What happens after the procedure?

The nurse will remove the IV line and the needle from your hand. The presence of a bruise around the needle site is normal, and it should go away within few days.

Immediately contact your health care provider if you develop a chest or a back pain or shortness of breath a few days following the procedure.

Conclusion

Blood transfusions are usually safe and occur without any complications. Rare complications that can happen during the procedure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Chest or back pain
  • Sense of uneasiness

Immediately tell your nurse if you develop any of these symptoms.

Citations

Mayo Clinic: Blood transfusion

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