During a transfusion, blood is given to the patient through an IV (intravenous) or central catheter line. This is given to build up blood levels. Injury, surgery, chemotherapy, drugs, or certain diseases can cause levels to be low.
Blood can be given “whole.” Most often, one or more parts of the blood are given to patients. The most common blood parts are red cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. The parts of the blood that a patient gets depend on their needs.
· Red Cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body.
Without enough red cells, patients may become anemic.
· Platelets help to clot blood and stop bleeding.
· Plasma also plays large role in blood clotting. This may be given if a
patient is bleeding and has low levels of clotting factors.
· Cryoprecipitate is given to control bleeding. This is given to persons
who have low blood levels of one or more clotting factors.
Along with our blood supplier, we aim to make our blood products as safe as they can be. Blood that is given to patients has been closely prepared and tested. Most blood products are given without any problems. As with all procedures, complications can occur.
· Minor Reactions
During or right after a patient begins getting a blood product, they might
notice a rash, hives, itching, fever or chills. These symptoms are seldom
serious. Nurses and doctors watch for these signs. If a severe symptom
such as trouble breathing occurs, the doctor and nurse will respond
quickly. If a patient has had a transfusion and/or a reaction before, they
should tell the doctor before getting any blood.
· Serious Problems
Getting a disease from a blood product is highly doubtful. Yet, it can
occur. The more severe diseases carried through blood are:
Hepatitis B & C – These impact the liver. The chance of getting hepatitis after getting a blood product is very low. The risk is about 1 per 250,000 – 500,000 units transfused for Hepatitis B and 1 per 2,000,000 units transfused for Hepatitis C. If Hepatitis B occurs, it is often mild and patients get better. Yet, Hepatitis B & C can become chronic.
AIDS – This is a disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus travels through blood and destroys the body's disease fighting system. It can cause illness and death. Since early in 1985, all blood donors have been tested to see if they carry or are infected with HIV. Because of careful screening and testing, the risk of getting AIDS from blood transfusions is quite small. The risk is about 1 per 2,000,000 units transfused.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 11/06/2012
Copyright © 11/06/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6346
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