blood or parts of blood through an IV (intravenous) line. The blood may be from a donor.
Or you may receive your own blood that has been stored for you. There are several parts
of blood that can be
Red blood cells are the most common type of blood product transfusion.
There are many reasons you may need a transfusion. Your healthcare provider will explain the reasons for your transfusion.
There are several reasons why you may need a blood transfusion, such as:
Human blood is made of
and a fluid called plasma. Plasma carries red and white blood cells
and platelets. Each part of blood has a special function. These parts can be
separated from each other. Bone marrow, the soft, spongy material in the center of
the bones, makes most of the body's blood cells. Here is a look at each part of the
blood, and why it might be transfused:
Red blood cells. These cells carry
oxygen from your lungs to other body organs. They also carry carbon dioxide back to
the lungs to be breathed out (exhaled). The body needs a certain number of these
cells to work well. Bleeding due to injury, surgery, or disease may cause a low red
blood cell count. This is the most common type of transfusion.
White blood cells. These cells fight
infections by destroying bacteria, viruses, and other germs. White blood cells are
rarely transfused. They are often set aside as a short-term (temporary) treatment for
people with a low white cell count and severe infection that has not responded to
Platelets. These little pieces of
blood cells help blood
Your body may not make enough platelets. This might be due to bone marrow disorders,
increased destruction of platelets, or medicines such as chemotherapy. Platelets may
be transfused before a procedure that may cause a person with a low platelet count to
Plasma. This fluid carries the blood
cells all over the body. It contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the
proteins also help blood to clot. Plasma or fresh frozen plasma can be transfused in
people who severely lack certain parts of the blood that help with clotting.
Most hospitals use blood from volunteer donors. These donors are not paid for giving blood or blood products. Each blood donor must answer medical history questions and have a limited physical exam before being accepted as a donor. Donated blood is carefully tested, which lowers the chances of transfusion-related infections. Donated blood is tested for:
Most transfusions are done without any problems. Mild side effects can often be treated with medicine if you need more transfusions. Mild side effects may include symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:
Serious side effects are rare. They may include:
In addition to general volunteer blood donations, there are 2 other types of blood donation:
Directed blood donation. This is when
friends or family donate blood for a certain person. This blood is set aside for that
person’s use. This type of donation requires a prescription and must be scheduled in
advance. Direct blood donations go through the same testing as other volunteer
donations. If the person does not use this donated blood, it may be made available
for someone else.
Donating blood for yourself (autologous
donation). This is your blood that you donate for your own use. It is set
aside and can be transfused back into your own body if needed for a later, planned
surgery. This type of donation requires a prescription from your provider and is
scheduled in advance. It does not go through the same testing as other blood
donations. If you don’t use the blood, it is thrown away.
No special preparation is needed before a blood transfusion.
A blood transfusion may occur as part of your hospitalization. Or it may be done as an outpatient. This means you go home the same day.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
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