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Blood transfusions are both very common and very intensive procedures. For this reason, various blood transfusion risks and alternatives to blood transfusions are things which should be made aware to every patient.

Blood transfusions are relatively common medical procedures that are performed for a number of reasons. Some patients receive blood transfusions to compensate for blood that is lost during certain types of surgery. Others require a blood transfusion to replace blood lost from a traumatic injury.

While blood transfusion alternatives exist, transfusions are still very common. Every year in the U.S. more than five million patients require a blood transfusion. The process takes anywhere from one to four hours, and the vast majority of these procedures are completed without complication. However, there are certain blood transfusion risks of which patients should be aware.

Blood Transfusion Risks

Viruses and diseaseBlood that is received by the patient during a blood transfusion is typically collected from blood banks. These blood banks rely on blood donors to fill their supplies. Although blood banks have strict requirements regarding who may donate blood and have rigorous screening and evaluation measures that blood must pass before it used, some viruses and diseases can be present in donated blood at the time of a transfusion. The possibility of contracting a virus or serious disease from a blood transfusion is extremely low.

Allergic reactionProper care is always taken to ensure that patient's receive the correct blood type during a transfusion. However, some patients can still experience allergic reactions to the new blood- even when it is the correct blood type. These reactions can be caused by various components of the blood. The blood transfusion is stopped in the instance of any allergic reaction. Serious allergic reactions can make it unsafe to resume the transfusion and cause further complications.

Lung damageIn some cases, patients receiving a blood transfusion can experience lung damage. The exact cause for this is disputed, although some doctors contend that blood donated by pregnant women contains certain antibodies that can disrupt normal lung functions. Lung injuries present a serious blood transfusion risk- nearly 25% of these injuries prove fatal.

Other blood transfusion risksThere are a number of other risks associated with receiving a blood transfusion. These include fever, iron overload, delayed hemolytic reaction and specific blood diseases.

Blood transfusions are safely performed at Grant Medical Center every day. Our doctors and nurses take great care to ensure that any risks associated with blood transfusions are minimized.

Patients who require a transfusion but are concerned with these risks can consult a physician or specialist about blood transfusion alternatives.