Why blood transfusion?
A blood transfusion is when you have a shortage of RBCs (red blood cells) in your body; this might occur when your body is not producing enough RBCs or because you lost blood recently. You may need the blood transfusion if you have:
- A condition that impacts the way your RBCs work like sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Specific cancer or cancer treatments that affect the blood cells, including chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, or leukemia
- Severe bleeding due to surgery, a serious accident, or childbirth
The procedure helps to replace the lost blood or just replace the cells or liquid in blood, such as plasma, platelets, or red blood cells.
What happens during blood transfusion
Before the procedure, the medical professional will explain the entire process, and only the person with the same blood group will provide you with blood. During the blood transfusion:
- You will either sit or lie down in a bed or chair
- The nurse or a doctor will insert a needle into your hand or arm vein
- They will connect the needle to a tube and bag of blood
- The blood will run through the tube into your vein
How you may feel during the blood transmission
You may feel a sharp prick when they insert the needle into your vein, but you will not feel anything during the blood transfusion. The nurse will regularly check up on you while receiving the blood or if you feel uncomfortable or unwell, do tell a staff member.
Some might develop chills, a rash, or a temperature, so they will provide you with paracetamol or try slowing down the blood transfusion. Your hand or arm might ache and develop a bruise for a few days after the transfusion.
Consult a doctor if you are, or you feel unwell within a day after having a blood transfusion, especially if you find difficulties in breathing or pain in your back or chest.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022