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  4. World Blood Donor Day 2022: Why do you need Blood Transfusion? Know risks and complications

World Blood Donor Day 2022: Why do you need Blood Transfusion? Know risks and complications

Blood is donated by non-paid healthy volunteers. Prior to giving blood donors are asked about their health history and social activities to determine their eligibility. People who are sick, who are taking certain medications, who have chronic diseases (like hepatitis or AIDS), or who are at high risk for developing certain diseases are excluded. The only blood that is determined to be safe is used.

Health Desk Edited by: Health Desk New Delhi Published on: June 14, 2022 6:28 IST
World Blood Donor Day 2022
Image Source : FREEPIK

World Blood Donor Day 2022

World Blood Donor Day 2022: A blood transfusion is the delivery of blood products through a vein. Depending on your need, your doctor may order red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets or clotting factors, plasma, or whole blood. Blood is made up of many tiny cells that all play a different role in the body. Depending on your needs, the doctor may order one type of blood cell or all of them at the same time. June 14 is celebrated as World Blood Donor Day. While the day is dedicated to spreading awareness about blood donation and transfusion, there are still many people who don't know even the basics of it.

Types of Blood-

  • Red Blood Cells (RBC) – RBCs carry oxygen from the lungs to all the parts of the body. Too few red blood cells results in not enough oxygen circulating through the body. When a person doesn’t have enough red blood cells in their body it is called anemia. 
  • Platelets– Platelets are cells that help clot wounds and injuries. Too much blood clotting factors can result in a stroke or deep vein thrombosis. Too little blood clotting factors can result in uncontrolled bleeding.
  • White blood cells (WBC) – WBCs help protect the body from infection. There are five types of WBCs, each with different protective roles. Having too few WBCs can put you at increased risk for an infection. Having a lot of WBCs in your blood can indicate an infection is currently happening.
  • Plasma – This is the liquid that blood cells are suspended in. It is mostly water and helps control electrolyte balance in the body. It also protects the body from infection.
  • Whole Blood – Whole blood includes red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets/clotting factors together.

Collecting and Preparing Blood 

Blood is donated by non-paid healthy volunteers. Prior to giving blood donors are asked about their health history and social activities to determine their eligibility. People who are sick, who are taking certain medications, who have chronic diseases (like hepatitis or AIDS), or who are at high risk for developing certain diseases are excluded. The only blood that is determined to be safe is used.

Once blood is donated it is tested for safety. Blood that carries diseases and illnesses is not used. Blood is also typed using the ABO and Rh system.

Based on your genetic makeup, you will carry Type A, or Type B, or Type AB, or Type O blood.

  • People with Type A blood can receive Type A or Type O blood without problems. 
  • People with Type B blood can receive Type B or Type O blood without problems. 
  • People with Type AB blood can receive Type AB, Type A, Type B, and Type O blood without problems. However, they cannot give blood to anyone except for Blood Type AB.
  • People with Type O blood can receive blood from Type O only. However, Type O can give blood to all types. It is the universal donor.

The Rh System also helps determine blood compatibility; it describes whether or not you carry a protein on your blood cells. If you carry the protein and 85% of the population does, your blood is classified as Rh+. If you do not carry the protein your blood is classified as Rh-.

  • People who are Rh- can only receive Rh- blood. 
  • People who are Rh+ can receive blood that is Rh+ or Rh- without problems developing.

NOTE: All test results are double checked before any blood is made available for use.

Why Would You Need a Blood Transfusion?

  • There are many reasons you might need to receive a blood transfusion. These are just a few of them:
  • You’ve had major surgery or a serious injury and you need to replace lost blood
  • You’ve experienced bleeding in your digestive tract from an ulcer or other condition
  • You have an illness like leukemia or kidney disease that causes anemia (not enough healthy red blood cells)
  • You’ve received cancer treatments like radiation or chemotherapy
  • You have a blood disorder or severe liver problems etc

What Happens During a Blood Transfusion?

Blood transfusion is a way of adding blood to your body after an illness or injury. If your body is missing one or more of the components that make up healthy blood, a transfusion can help supply what your body is missing.

Depending on how much blood you need, a transfusion can take between 1 and 4 hours. 

Pre Transfusion Test: Before the blood is transfused, samples of your blood and the donor blood are checked to make sure they are compatible. This is called “cross-match” and it ensures that your blood and the donor’s blood match on the ABO and Rh Systems.

If You Need a Blood Transfusion

If you need a blood transfusion you doctor will talk with you about the potential risks and benefits of this procedure. Before blood is given a blood sample will be drawn from you. This sample will allow the blood bank personnel to identify your blood type (A, B, AB, O) and if your carry the Rh protein or not (Rh+ or Rh-). 

When it’s time to give you the blood, the nurse will pick up the blood that matches yours from the blood bank and bring it to you. It is checked several times to make sure you are getting blood that matches your blood type. The blood is given through IV tubing into a vein. You will be monitored to make sure the transfusion is proceeding well.

Risks and Complications of blood Transfusion

In general, blood transfusions are considered safe, but there are risks. Sometimes complications show up immediately, others take some time.

  • Allergic reactions: It’s possible to experience an allergic reaction to the blood you receive, even if it’s the correct blood type. If this happens, you’ll likely feel itchy and develop hives. If you have an allergic reaction, it’s likely to happen during the transfusion or very shortly after.
  • Acute immune hemolytic reaction: This complication is rare, but is a medical emergency. It happens if your body attacks the red blood cells in the blood you’ve received. This normally takes place during or right after your transfusion and you’ll experience symptoms like fever, chills, nausea or pain in your chest or lower back. Your urine might also come out dark.
  • Delayed hemolytic reaction: This is similar to an acute immune hemolytic reaction, but it happens more gradually.
  • Anaphylactic reaction: This happens within minutes of starting a transfusion and may be life-threatening. You may experience swelling of the face and throat, shortness of breath, and low blood pressure.

None of these are common. They may or may not be part of a serious reaction. Tell the nurse if you experience any of them. The transfusion may be stopped, or you may be given medicine before completing the transfusion.
If You Refuse Transfusion

Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of transfusion as well as the risks if you refuse it. Refusing a transfusion that your doctor considers medically necessary is an important decision. If you refuse the transfusion, be sure all your questions are answered so that you understand how this can affect your health. You have the right to refuse any treatment you do not want.

 

(This article is attributed to Dr. Sangeeta Agarwal, Fortis Memorial Research Institute)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)

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