Process Of Blood Transfusion

The importance of blood transfusion cannot be overemphasised as well as the various complications that can accompany this life saving procedure. With this in mind, various centres and countries have some protocols laid down for the procedure. This article gives a glimpse into what happens during the process of blood transfusion.

  1. Prescription of blood transfusion; this occurs following the doctor’s evaluation of the patient and thus deciding the need for transfusion as well as the quantity and blood component to be transfused and over a prescribed and stated period.

  2. Patient consent: following the decision taken by the doctor, the doctor then educates the patient or the guardian/ relative on the indication for the transfusion, the potential risks, benefits and possible alternatives. The patient or guardian/ relative then give his or her consent and sign the consent form appropriately.

  3. Blood collection from the patient and donor and pre-transfusion compatibility testing; the blood sample of the patient is taken, well labelled and is sent to the laboratory for pre-transfusion compatibility testing. The donor’s blood test is further screened for blood transfusion transmittable infections such as hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis.

  4. Patient preparation and actual transfusion process; the patient is the prepared for transfusion by:

    1. The identity of the patient is confirmed and the history confirmed.

    2. Ensuring a patent and flowing intravenous access.

    3. The vital signs of the patient such as the blood pressure, temperature and pulse rate is taken and recorded prior to the commencement of the blood.

    4. The blood request form containing the patient’s information is cross checked against the blood about to be transfused therefore ascertaining that the blood is appropriate. The blood bag containing the donor blood is usually labelled with the blood type as well as the screening tests done with corresponding results.

    5. The blood is then set up at the prescribed dose.

    6. Thee time at which the blood was uploaded is recorded as well as the expected time of finish.

    7. The hospital protocol for management of transfusion reaction is document and put by the bed side as to hasten interventions should such occur.

    8. During the course of the transfusion especially during the first hour, the patient is closely monitored for any sign of transfusion reaction.

    9. On completion of the transfusion, the blood giving set is disconnected and disposed with the blood bag.

    10. Post transfusion vital signs are taken and recorded.

Written by;

Dr Rafiat Ajala-Lawal.

Medical expert and lecturer at the department of medical biochemistry

Nile University of Nigeria.