What Is A Blood Transfusion?
A blood transfusion is a safe, common procedure in which blood is given to you through an intravenous IV line in one of your blood vessels.
Blood transfusions are often given to increase hemoglobin levels. The healthy red blood cells you receive during a transfusion give you more hemoglobin, which helps your blood carry more oxygen.
During a blood transfusion, a small needle is used to insert an IV line into one of your blood vessels. Through this line, you receive healthy blood. The procedure usually takes 1 to 4 hours, depending on how much blood you need.
Blood transfusions are done to replace blood lost during surgery or due to a serious injury. A transfusion also may be done if your body can't make blood properly because of an illness.
People with sickle cell disease continue to have blood transfusions to prevent and treat some of the serious health problems caused by their disease.
If you are anemic, it is important to speak with your doctor about the best way to raise your hemoglobin level and reduce anemia-related symptoms.
Transfusions are only one option for patients with anemia, but transfusions are normally not a patient’s only option for recovery
Blood transfusions, however, do come with some risks.
Fever is the most common side effect of a blood transfusion and is easily treated with over-the-counter fever reducers.
Acute Hemolytic reactions include chills, fever, nausea, chest pain and flank pain in awake patients.
Transmission of a viral infection is another high risk.
Urticarial Reactions are characterized by erythema, hives and itching without fever. Again, this is a relatively common reaction and occurs in about 1% of all transfusions.
Blood transfusions can lead to a condition known as Graft-versus-host-disease in which white blood cells in donated blood attack the cells in the patient receiving the blood transfusion.
Consult with your physician or health care provider to determine if a blood transfusion is the best way to treat your condition. A blood transfusion can be a life-saving procedure.
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