Here’s a list of things you should know about blood transfusions:

  1. A majority of donated blood is used for direct blood transfusions.
  2. There are very specific ways in which blood types must be matched for a safe transfusion. See the
    chart below:
  3. Reasons a patient may undergo a blood transfusion:
    • Most patients who have a major surgical procedure will have a blood transfusion to replace
    any blood loss during their surgery.
    • Blood transfusions are used for patients who have experienced serious injuries that cause
    them to lose a lot of blood, majorly from accidents.
    • Individuals with an illness that causes anemia, such as leukemia or kidney disease will often
    be the recipients of blood transfusions.
  4. Before the Procedure: A nurse or doctor will check the patient’s blood pressure, pulse, and
    temperature before starting the transfusion.
  5. During the Procedure: The procedure begins when an intravenous (IV) line is inserted into the
    patient’s vein, and the patient starts receiving the blood. Depending on the amount of blood, a simple
    blood transfusion can take between 1-4 hours.
  6. After the Procedure: Following the completion of the blood transfusion, the patient’s vital signs are
    checked and the IV is removed.
  7. Common types of blood transfusions include Platelet, Plasma, and Red Blood Cell transfusions.
    • RBC Transfusions: A patient suffering from an iron deficiency or anemia, a condition where the body
    does not have enough red blood cells, may receive a Red Blood Cell Transfusion. This type of
    transfusion increases a patient’s hemoglobin and iron levels while improving the amount of oxygen
    in the body.
    • Platelet Transfusions: Platelets are a component of blood that stops the body from bleeding. Often,
    patients suffering from leukemia, or other types of cancer, have lower platelet counts as a side effect
    of their chemotherapy treatments. Patients who have illnesses that prevent the body from making
    enough platelets have to get regular transfusions to stay healthy.
    • Plasma Transfusions: Plasma is the liquid part of the body’s blood. It contains important proteins and
    other substances crucial to one’s overall health. Plasma transfusions are used for patients with liver
    failure, severe infections, and serious burns.
  8. Often patients who have received a blood transfusion experience no complications or problems.
    However, minor to severe problems do occasionally occur. Some of the most common complications
    • Allergic Reactions: In these cases, symptoms include hives and itching. Like most allergic
    reactions, this can be treated with antihistamines. However, if the reaction becomes serious, a
    doctor should be consulted.
    • Fever: A fever is your body’s response to the white blood cells in the transfused blood.
    However, it can be a sign of a serious reaction if the patient is also experiencing nausea or chest
    pain. Patients should consult their doctors if other symptoms or side effects are present.
    • Acute Immune Haemolytic Reaction: This is a very serious, but rare, reaction caused by a
    patient’s body attacking the transfused red blood cells. The attack triggers a release of a
    substance that damages the kidneys. This is often the case when the donor blood is not a
    proper match with the patient’s blood type. Symptoms include nausea, fever, chills, chest and
    lower back pain, and dark urine.
    In these procedures, blood is pumped into a patient’s veins via an intravenous (IV) line to boost low blood
    levels caused by surgery, injury, or disease. According to the standards of the Joint Commission on
    Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), blood transfusions are one of the core functions essential
    to quality medical care.
    Beyond blood transfusions, donated blood also can be used to help trauma or burn victims; provide necessary proteins for the treatment of serious burns, and to help patients with blood disorders such as sickle
    cell anemia or hemophilia. Don’t forget to see and ask your specialist doctor for all your health-related
    questions. Hope you learned a thing or two! Feel free to drop your opinion in the comment section!

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