What is a Blood Transfusion?
A Blood Transfusion is a life saving intervention.
Used worldwide, it means giving a patient red blood
cells, platelets or plasma through a ‘drip’ via
a small needle. The transfusion takes from two
to four hours and is not painful. Your doctor will
explain the procedure to you and ask you for your
verbal consent. Your pre-operative general written
consent for theatre includes tests and actions
performed in your best interest, including a blood
transfusion if required.
Common reasons for blood
- Anaemia: Anaemia, which has many different causes, happens
when your body does not have enough red cells to carry the
oxygen you need. As a result, you will feel tired and breathless.
It is often possible to treat anaemia with medicines and
vitamins but blood transfusion may also be necessary.
- Blood Loss: This can be due to surgery or an injury.
Small amounts of blood loss can be replaced by solutions
of salt or glucose or by the use of synthetic substances.
The sudden loss of a larger amount of blood – which can be dangerous – will
need to be replaced by blood transfusion.
- Clotting or Bleeding Disorder: Platelets
are obtained from donated blood, and are used in the treatment
of some clotting / bleeding disorders.
Steps taken to ensure
that the donated blood is safe
In Ireland healthy volunteers donate all blood. Donated
blood is carefully screened to prevent the transmission
of infection via transfusion. Careful checks are
carried out to make sure that the donated blood is correctly
matched to your own.