Blood transfusion


Blood transfusion is conducted if an individual lost blood from an injury, during surgery, or from a medical condition that affects blood or blood components. The blood transfusion is a common medical procedure that replaces the lost blood or blood components through an intravenous line.

The blood or blood components used for blood transfusion usually came from donors. Transfusions are a low-risk, safe treatment provided by blood banks and healthcare facilities.

Complications rarely occur after blood transfusions. If problems do arise, they are usually minor.


A blood transfusion can supply specific blood components, or parts, in addition to whole blood. Blood consists of various components, including:

  • Red blood cells: Transport the oxygen throughout the body and help in removing waste products.
  • White blood cells: This component help the body fight any infection.
  • Platelets: This component help in clotting the blood.
  • Plasma: Transports the nutrients required by the body.

A transfusion gives the patient the component or parts of blood they require. Red blood cells are the most often transfused blood type. Receiving whole blood, which contains all its components, is also an option, but whole blood transfusions are infrequent.

Reasons for undergoing the procedure

The person’s life may be saved by a blood transfusion. If they have had blood loss due to an injury or surgery, or if they suffer from any of the following medical problems, they may require a blood transfusion:

  • Anemia.
  • Hemophilia.
  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Specific cancer.


The medical community puts a lot of effort into ensuring that blood used for transfusions is safe. Blood banks inquire about the health, habits, and travel history of potential donors. Blood donations are only accepted from those who meet the standards for blood donors. Blood donations are tested in accordance with national protocols. Blood is disposed of if there is any doubt as to its safety.

Blood banks monitor and screen donors to lower the risk of diseases associated with blood transfusions; as a result, diseases like HIV and hepatitis B or C are very uncommon.

Blood transfusions can cause a number of reactions in people. Among the reactions people could have are:

  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Fevers, or chills.
  • Rashes.
  • Hemolytic transfusion reaction, in which the body attempts to eliminate red blood cells that have been transfused.
  • Graft-versus-host disease, in where the white blood cells that was transfused is attacking the bone marrow. Typically resulting in a fatal outcome, this condition is more prone to impact individuals with severely compromised immune systems.

These reactions do not occur in most people and they typically feel like allergies when they do occur. Inform the healthcare provider if a patient exhibits unusual symptoms while receiving a transfusion. Relief may be obtained by stopping the transfusion or by taking particular medications.


Donated blood or blood components are kept in specialized medical containers until they are required. An intravenous line comprised of tubing is attached to the required blood bag by the healthcare provider. The delivery of blood or blood components into the circulatory system starts when the needle at the end of the tube is placed into a vein.

Typically, blood transfusions take place at a hospital, outpatient clinic, or healthcare provider’s office. Depending on which blood components the patient needs and how much blood they receive, the treatment usually takes one to four hours.

Before the procedure

Prior to a transfusion, the blood will be analyzed to identify if it is Rh positive or Rh negative and to identify whether the blood type is A, B, AB, or O. The donated blood used in the transfusion needs to match the recipient’s blood type.

The following steps are conducted before the procedure:

  • Take note of the temperature, pulse, and blood pressure.
  • Verify that the blood that is given matches the product that the healthcare provider requested and is clearly labeled with the patient’s name.

During the procedure

The following steps are followed while the blood transfusion is ongoing.

  • One of the blood veins has an intravenous (IV) line with a needle placed into it. Through the IV, donated blood that has been kept in a blood bag gets into the patient’s bloodstream. You will be in a seated or reclined position for the procedure, typically lasting between one to four hours.
  • Throughout the process, the patient will be observed by a nurse, who will also assess their temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • The patient should immediately inform the nurse or the healthcare provider if they develop the following reaction:
    • Fever or chills.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Itchiness.
    • Chest or back pain
    • A feeling of discomfort.

After the procedure

When the blood transfusion has been completed, the nurse will take out the IV line and needle. The bruise that may form around the injection site will likely go away in a few days for the patient.

The patient should contact their healthcare provider if they developed dyspnea, chest discomfort, or back pain, days after the transfusion.


The patient may be at risk of death if they don’t have enough blood or one of the components of blood. Blood transfusion is essential for this reason.

Unexpected reactions to a blood transfusion might occur. A patient may respond during the transfusion, the day following, or even months later. If a patient has any of the following, contact the healthcare provider immediately away:

  • Bleeding, discomfort or new bruises at the IV site.
  • Cold and clammy skin.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Dark or reddish urine.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing.
  • Headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting.
  • Rash, hives or itching.
  • Severe back pain.