Table of contents:
Blood transfusion is a safe procedure in which whole blood or only some of its constituents are inserted into the patient's body with the aim of treating some condition, especially deep anemia or severe bleeding, in addition to being indicated in case of hemophilia, burns or during major surgeries, for example.
Although it is possible to have a transfusion of whole blood as when severe bleeding occurs, it is usually more common for only blood components such as red blood cells, plasma or platelets to be transfused to treat anemia or burns, for example. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to have several blood transfusions to meet the body's needs.
In addition, in the case of scheduled surgeries, it is possible to perform an autologous transfusion, which is when blood is taken before the surgical procedure, to be used if necessary during the surgery.
When transfusion is needed
Blood transfusion can only be performed when the blood type between the donor and the patient is compatible, being indicated in situations where there is great loss of blood or liquids or when there is a change in the cell production process blood or blood components, such as clotting factors, for example. Thus, blood transfusion may be indicated in case of:
- Deep anemia;
- Severe bleeding;
- 3rd degree burns;
- After bone marrow or other organ transplantation;
- During surgical procedures, when there is severe bleeding.
However, before the transfusion is carried out, it is necessary to ensure that the blood of the person who will receive the blood and the blood to be transfused are compatible, as in this way it is possible to prevent the development of reactions. Learn more about blood types.
How blood transfusion is performed
To be able to undergo a blood transfusion, it is necessary to take a blood sample to check the blood type, blood volume and the amount of circulating blood cells, so that it is possible to verify if the person has conditions for start the transfusion, assess the amount of blood that will be needed and whether it will be a transfusion of whole blood or just some components.
The procedure to receive the blood can take up to 3 hours, depending on the amount of blood needed and also the component that will be transfused. For example, erythrocyte transfusion can take longer because it must be done very slowly, and usually the volume needed is large, while plasma, despite being thicker, is usually needed in smaller amounts and may take less time.
Having a blood transfusion does not hurt and when the transfusion is done outside of surgery, the patient can usually eat, read, talk or listen to music while receiving the blood, for example.
What to do when transfusion is not allowed?
In the case of people with beliefs or religions that prevent transfusion, as in the case of Jehovah's Witnesses, self-transfusion can be chosen, especially in the case of scheduled surgeries, in which the blood is taken from the person himself before surgery so that it can later be used during the procedure.
Possible transfusion risks
Blood transfusions are very safe and, therefore, the risk of getting AIDS or hepatitis is very low, since before being transfused, the blood goes through a series of tests to be considered safe. However, in some cases, it can cause allergic reactions, lung swelling, heart failure, or changes in blood potassium levels.Therefore, all transfusions must be performed at the hospital with evaluation by the medical team.