Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Mismatching of blood types
Iron build up
Infections that can be passed through blood such as hepatitis or
HIV (rare due to blood screening methods)
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
A blood test will be done to find your blood type. The donor blood will be matched to your blood type.
Allergy medicine may be given before the transfusion. This will lower the risk of a reaction.
Description of the Procedure
You will be seated. A bag with blood product will be hung nearby. An IV needle will be placed into a vein in your hand or arm. The blood product will drip from the bag through the tube into your vein. The needle will be taken out when the bag is empty.
Blood transfusion. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-transfusion. Accessed January 12, 2021.
Blood transfusion process. American Red Cross website. Available at: https://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-transfusions/the-process. Accessed January 12, 2021.
Goel R, Chappidi M, et. al. Trends in red blood cell, plasma, and platelet transfusions in the United States, 1993-2014. JAMA. 2018;319(8):825-827.
Red blood cell transfusion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/red-blood-cell-transfusion. Accessed January 12, 2021.
Last reviewed February 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/12/2021
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