Blood Transfusion

A blood transfusion is the delivery of blood through a vein. The blood may come from an unrelated or related donor. For planned procedures, some people have their blood drawn at an earlier date and stored until the transfusion is needed.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor right away 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
    • Lightheadedness
    • 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 an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    A blood transfusion is the delivery of blood through a vein. The blood may come from an unrelated or related donor.

    For planned procedures, some people have their blood drawn at an earlier date and stored until the transfusion is needed.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    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 disease
      or
      hemophilia
    • Poor immune system
    • Leukemia
    • Diseases that result in destruction of blood cells or bone marrow
    • Side effects of certain medicines such as chemotherapy for cancer

  • Possible Complications

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

    • Severe reactions due to allergies, volume overload, iron accumulation, and the mismatching of blood types. Hospitals have several steps to make sure blood is correctly matched.

    • Certain infections, such as hepatitis or
      HIV, can be passed on during blood transfusions. There are many steps and tests that are done to thoroughly check donated blood before anyone is allowed to receive it.