Blood transfusion

A blood transfusion is a procedure in which a person receives blood from a donor (another individual who has provided their blood for this purpose).

It’s a life-saving measure used when – for various reasons – a person doesn’t have enough blood, or particular blood cells, in their system to function. Donated blood is rigorously checked to ensure it is safe for transfusion and a suitable match for the recipient.

There are a number of reasons why somebody may need a blood transfusion. These include medical conditions, such as anaemia (lack of red blood cells), sickle cell disease or thalassaemia, as well as severe blood loss following a wound, injury, surgery or childbirth. Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or stem cell transplants, can also affect blood cells and may lead to a transfusion being required.

At Hadley Wood, we understand that undergoing a blood transfusion might seem daunting at first. Our specialist team will do their best to ensure you feel well taken care of and fully informed about what to expect, and as relaxed and comfortable as possible at every stage.

Before having a blood transfusion, we will take a blood sample from you and once a suitable match has been found, you will be invited for the procedure. Blood transfusions are usually administered via an intravenous drip. A needle and small tube, called a cannula, will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. A flexible tube, attached to a bag containing the donor blood, will then be inserted. This will enable to donor blood to enter your blood stream. The process is completely painless – although you may feel a slight scratch when the cannula is inserted and the area might feel a bit bruised for a few days afterwards – and a nurse will check on you regularly throughout.

The procedure can take up to four hours to complete, depending on the amount of blood being transfused. Most people are able to go home very soon afterwards, unless you are unwell or required a high amount of blood.

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