In a blood transfusion, donated blood is added to your own blood. A blood transfusion may also be done to supplement various components of your blood with donated blood products. In rare cases, a blood transfusion is done with blood that you've donated ahead of time before you undergo surgery.
During a typical blood transfusion, certain parts of blood are delivered through an intravenous (IV) line that's placed in one of the veins in your arm. A blood transfusion usually takes one to two hours, though in an emergency it can be done much faster.
A blood transfusion boosts blood levels that are low, either because your body isn't making enough or because blood has been lost during surgery, injury or disease.
Apr. 26, 2012
- What is a blood transfusion? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bt/. Accessed Feb. 6, 2012.
- Blood transfusion. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. http://www.lls.org//attachments/National/br_1144786293.pdf.#/diseaseinformation/managingyourcancer/newlydiagnosed/understandingdiagnosis/bloodtransfusion. Accessed Feb. 6, 2012.
- Blood transfusion and donation. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002989-pdf.pdf. Accessed Feb. 6, 2012.
- Katz EA. Blood transfusion: Friend or foe. Advanced Critical Care. 2009;20:155.
- Rawn J. The silent risks of blood transfusion. Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology. 2008;21:664.
- Sharma S, et al. Transfusion of blood and blood products: Indications and complications. American Family Physician. 201115;83:719.
- Jacob EK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 28, 2012.