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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Blood Transfusion: Home Care and Complications

Blood Transfusion

Blood Transfusion | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

What happens later at home?

The healthcare provider will tell the person which symptoms to report after the procedure. Normal diet and most activities can be resumed after a transfusion.

What are the potential complications after the procedure?

Transfusion reactions are usually minor, and caused by antibodies to white blood cells still present in the blood product. This occurs in about 1 to 2% of all transfusions. Most reactions slowly clear after the transfusion is stopped. Rarely, blood cell destruction can occur when the donor blood is incompatible with that of the recipient. The person might have trouble breathing, severe pain in the chest or back, and blood in the urine. This condition is rare, but can be life threatening. Other complications, such as circulatory overload, may occur to people at risk from previous health problems.

Despite careful donor screening and blood testing, certain diseases can be transmitted by blood transfusion, although the risk is very low. These diseases include:

  • hepatitis C, which occurs in about 1 in 10,000 transfusions
  • human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, with a risk of 1 in 670,000 transfusions
  • cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • bacterial infections
  • malaria
  • syphilis
  • Concerns about the safety of donated blood products should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

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    Blood Transfusion: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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