What Is a Blood Transfusion?

Almost five million Americans undergo this procedure every year.

Blood transfusion is a procedure that involves your own donated blood.

Blood transfusions promote low blood levels.

You may need surgery, bleeding, injury, cancer, infection, blood disorder, liver problems or any other health concern.

Blood contains components such as red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets.

A blood transfusion can give you whole blood, or parts of the blood that are more helpful to you.

Sometimes blood is transfused from your own blood that you donated ahead of time.

Blood transfusions should be based on your blood type. Your blood will be tested to see if it is A, B, AB or O and if it is Rh positive or Rh negative.

Blood banks carefully donate blood to identify blood types.

They also test for infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can spread during transmission.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, approximately five million Americans need a blood transfusion each year.

Blood Transfusion Procedure

Blood transfusions are usually done at a hospital, doctor’s office, or other medical facility.

During a blood transfusion, a vein (IV) line is placed in a vein in your arm.

Blood or blood components collected in plastic bags are transported to your bloodstream through IV.

The procedure usually takes one to four hours.

Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms during your death:

Shortness of breath
Feeling feverish or cold
Pain at the infusion site
Unusual itching
Feeling restless

Before a Blood Transfusion

You do not need to change your diet or restrict any activity before the blood transfusion.

Tell your doctor if you have died in the past that caused this negative reaction.

After a Blood Transfusion

After the procedure, you may develop an injury where the needle was inserted.

You may need more blood tests to see how your body is responding to the transfusion.

Blood Transfusion Risks

Blood transfusions are considered safe, but there may be some complications during or after the procedure. These include:

Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
Fever
Lung injury
Severe immune hemolytic reaction (occurs when the body suddenly attacks donor red blood cells)
Delayed hemolytic reaction (occurs when the body slowly attacks donor red blood cells)
Bloodburn infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.
Iron load (too much iron in the blood)
Graft vs. host disease (occurs when donor white blood cells attack the recipient’s bone marrow)

What Is a Blood Transfusion?
What Is a Blood Transfusion?

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