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Blood Transfusion: Facts you need to know about | Medanta

Blood Transfusion: Facts you need to know about | Medanta

After experiencing an illness or accident, your healthcare provider may recommend a blood transfusion. A transfusion may help replenish your blood if you lack any of the components that keep it healthy.


A blood transfusion might take anything from one to four hours. A blood transfusion is performed on around 5 million Americans annually, and it is a relatively risk-free treatment.



How Does a Blood Transfusion Work?



Red cells, white cells, plasma, and platelets are just some of the components that make up your blood. The term "whole blood" is used to describe blood that contains every component. Whole blood transfusions are sometimes necessary, although individual blood components are much more common.


When Is It Necessary to Get a Blood Transfusion?


A blood transfusion may be necessary for a variety of reasons. Some examples are:


  • Needing to replenish blood loss after severe surgery or injury
  • You have had internal bleeding as a result of an ulcer or another ailment.
  • You have a condition that causes anaemia, such as leukaemia or renal disease (not enough healthy red blood cells)
  • Radiation and/or chemotherapy was used to treat your cancer.
  • The condition of your blood or liver is critical.


Categories of Blood Donations


Blood cell transfusions may be one of many types:


In cases of anaemia or iron deficiency, a transfusion of red blood cells may be administered.

Tiny blood cells called platelets play a key role in clotting blood and preventing further bleeding. If you don't produce enough platelets, which might happen due to cancer or cancer therapy, you may need a platelet transfusion. Blood clotting proteins may be replenished by a plasma transfusion. In cases of severe bleeding or liver illness, it may be necessary.


The blood transfusion will most likely take place at a medical clinic or hospital. You'll get the transfusion the old fashioned way, with a needle and an IV line. In case there are issues, you will be closely watched.


Risks and complications


Blood transfusions are generally safe, but they are not without dangers. It's not always obvious when issues arise.


In most cases, a fever that develops during the first six hours following a iron transfusion is not cause for alarm. However, if you also feel sick to your stomach or have chest discomfort, it might be a more severe condition. Go to the hospital immediately.



Even if you obtain the right blood type, you still run the risk of having an adverse response to the blood. This may cause you to feel irritated and even break out in hives. You are more likely to have an allergic response during the transfusion itself or immediately afterwards.


This uncommon consequence requires immediate medical attention due to the severity of the acute immunological hemolytic response. It develops if the recipient's immune system rejects the donated blood because of its foreign red blood cells. In most cases, this happens during or immediately after your blood transfusion procedure, and it manifests itself via flu-like symptoms (such as a high temperature, chills, nausea, and back pain). Likewise, you may notice a change in the colour of your urine.


A delayed hemolytic response is a kind of immunological hemolytic reaction that develops over time but is otherwise identical to an immediate one.


It is possible to have a potentially fatal anaphylactic response within minutes after beginning a transfusion. Facial and tracheal swelling, difficulty breathing, and low blood pressure are all possible side effects.


What to expect?


The majority of blood transfusions take performed at medical facilities. Blood transfusions may be dangerous and should only be done by a medical professional, but some visiting nurses may be able to help. A blood test is needed to ascertain a patient's blood type first.


A healthcare provider will insert a needle into a vein, often in the arm or hand, to provide a blood transfusion. The blood is transferred from a bag to the needle through a rubber tube and vein.


Throughout the treatment, they will keep a close eye on vital indicators. A blood transfusion may take as much as four hours to finish.




How long it takes to recover might be affected by the underlying condition that necessitated the transfusion. One may be released from the hospital much sooner than 24 hours following the surgery.


After receiving a blood infusion, some people may have pain in their hand or arm. Localized swelling and bruising are also possible.


There is a tiny chance that the transfusion might cause a delayed response. The majority of the time this is not an issue, but if you have any unexplained signs of illness like nausea, swelling, jaundice, or an itching rash, you should see a doctor.


Warning signs include nausea, vomiting, and trouble breathing, all of which should be reported to a doctor immediately.


To what extent do I need to prepare myself for a blood transfusion?


Preparing for your blood transfusion probably won't need anything from you. If there is anything you can do ahead of time, your doctor will tell you.


Warning: if you have ever had an adverse response to a blood transfusion, you must reveal this information. There is the possibility that you may be prescribed medication to reduce the likelihood of an allergic response.


Most medical facilities need a signed permission form before a blood transfusion may take place. Only you or a trusted relative may sign this.


Before giving you a transfusion, a blood test may be performed to determine the blood type in your system. This is to guarantee that the correct kind of blood is collected from donors. A little amount of blood may be drawn from a puncture in your finger. Alternatively, a blood sample may be collected from a vein in your arm.




When blood is lost due to an accident or surgery, a transfusion may be performed to restore normal blood volume and function. Further, it has shown effective in treating a variety of medical issues.


There may be some little discomfort after receiving a blood transfusion, but the benefits far outweigh the risks.


Infections are very uncommon, but a reaction to the new blood is still possible. These responses are often moderate, however.


Dr. Anshul Gupta
Cancer Care
Meet The Doctor
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