What precautions must be taken before giving a blood transfusion? Medical

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Blood transfusions are fairly common and people receive them for numerous reasons. For example, a person may have had surgery and lost blood that needs to be replaced. Some people may need them because of an infection that has made it difficult for their body to make blood. Or, they...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Blood transfusions are fairly common and people receive them for numerous reasons. For example, a person may have had surgery and lost blood that needs to be replaced. Some people may need them because of an infection that has made it difficult for their body to make blood. Or, they may have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia.

There are many precautions that must be taken before undergoing a blood transfusion. First of all (and the most important), blood needs to be typed and matched. If a person gets blood that they are not compatible with they could die. Also, sometimes people have allergic reactions to blood so this needs to be monitored as well.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Another key precaution that has to be taken in the process before giving someone a transfusion is that the doctor or nurse has to establish whether or not there are any blood disorders that could complicate the transfusion.  Hemophilia is one of the more common blood disorders and transfusions can still be given but only if clotting factor is added or serious bruising/bleeding may occur.  It is also common after a person has received a large number of transfusions that the blood refuses to clot on its own.

You would also have to establish whether or not a person had any alergies to the iodine used to sterilize the plce on the arm for the IV.  While this doesn't happen very often, you don't want an allergic reaction starting when a person is needing blood, as that's a fairly life-critical procedure.

Most doctors also check to see if there are "needle tracks" or evidence of IV drug use, which can compromise veins to the point they can't be used, and signal increased risk of infectious diseases already being present.  Everyone in the room needs masks and gloves, so that no blood contact is made, and the risk of infection is minimized.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team