Proper Blood Transfusion: A Patient’s Guide

Getting a blood transfusion is a necessity in a patient’s life when they are in danger of extreme blood loss. During such emergencies, the patient does not usually have a say on how the procedure will be carried out. This is what makes it important for the patient to have critical information at hand. Below is a guide that offers basic guidelines for the patient.
What does blood transfusion entail?
This is a procedure that entails giving patients blood following massive loss of the same. This may occur as a result of traumatic events or surgical procedures or even select medical conditions. The blood to be transfused consists of the following: red blood cells, plasma or platelets.
Are there any benefits from the procedure?

Given the important role that blood plays in the human body, there are numerous benefits available for patients who get to undergo transfusion. As mentioned above, a transfusion is necessitated by the need to replace the blood lost. Consequently, some of the benefits of this procedure include:
– The provision of oxygen carried by the red blood cells to the different tissues where it is required. Inadequate levels of oxygen mean that the body tissues are not able to function normally.
– The presence of platelets carried by the blood is helpful in preventing clotting, therefore preventing excessive blood loss.
– Plasma is also an important constituent of blood, and helps in restoration of the blood volume thus effectively controlling the rate and extent of bleeding.
What is the safety record of carrying out a blood transfusion?
Due to the risk that accompanies handling body fluids, it is critical to make sure that adequate measures are taken to enhance the safety of both the donor and the recipient. This is what calls for a rigorous procedure prior to blood donation. The donor is asked many questions about their medical history, health and general lifestyle to ascertain that the blood obtained is as safe as possible. What’s more, once donation is complete, the next step involves testing the blood to make sure that it is fit for transfusion.
What are some of the risks that are associated with blood transfusion?
– The probability of human error cannot be eliminated
– Inability to fight off infections following transfusion, albeit for a short period of time.
– Allergic reactions arising from the procedure
– Contamination during handling of the blood and other blood products
– A sharp increase in the fluid present in the recipient’s body.
What are the alternatives to transfusion of blood?
It is impossible to provide a blanket answer as far as alternatives to blood transfusion are concerned. This is partly because there are different kinds of emergencies, so what works for one patient may not necessarily work for another. In some cases, medication may be used to control excessive bleeding. In critical cases, this may not always work. Recipients have the choice to decline blood transfusion, but must be well aware of the repercussions of the same.

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