Blood Transfusion
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Blood Transfusion?

A blood transfusion is the delivery of blood products through a vein. The blood products may be red cells, white cells, platelets, clotting factors, plasma, or whole blood. The blood may come from an unrelated or related donor, or it may have been taken from the recipient and stored in advance.

A blood transfusion should help increase your level of blood cells or other specific blood products. It may be needed if you have:

  • Blood and fluid loss due to injury, surgery, or disease
  • Severe anemia
  • Bleeding disorders, such as von Willebrand's disease or hemophilia
  • Poor immune system
  • Leukemia
  • Diseases that result in destruction of blood cells or bone marrow
  • Side effects of certain medicines (eg, chemotherapy for cancer)

Possible Complications

Your doctor will review any possible complications with you. Complications from a blood transfusion are rare but may include:

  • Allergic reactions due to the mismatching of blood types can occur but are very rare.
  • Certain infections, such as hepatitis or HIV , can be passed on during blood...

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction or infection, such as:

  • New rash, hives , or itching
  • Swelling in legs, feet, hands, arms, or face
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • New onset of pain, especially in the back or chest
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge where the needle was inserted

In case of emergency, CALL 911.