During a blood transfusion, a blood component (a part of whole blood) is put into the bloodstream. The blood used in a transfusion is compatible with the blood type of the person receiving the blood and moves into the body through an intravenous (IV) line, usually inserted in the arm.
A person rarely receives a whole-blood transfusion. Usually, a blood component such as red blood cells, platelets or plasma is given. Some may receive a combination of components. The type of component given depends on the medical condition.
Before a transfusion, a nurse will compare your armband with the label on the unit of blood to make certain you receive the correct blood product. A nurse will check your temperature, blood pressure and pulse before and several times during the transfusion.
You may resume your previous level of activity after the transfusion. Normally, you will be asked to stay in a bed or chair during the transfusion to monitor for possible reactions.
Every donor is screened before donating blood, and tests are done to determine blood purity. The chance of illness being passed through a blood transfusion is extremely small.
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