One of the most common reasons for a transfusion of packed red blood cells (pRBC) is anemia. This can be due to an acute hemorrhage or chronic bleeding, renal failure, or some cancers. Despite years of research, scientists have been unable to replicate human blood products in a lab. Donor blood is required for any blood transfusion therapy.
A blood transfusion reaction can be a potentially fatal occurrence. Nurses must know the signs and symptoms of transfusion reactions and how to respond should a patient be affected. Continue reading to learn the different types of transfusion reactions and the nursing considerations that go along with each reaction.
Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. receives a blood transfusion. Blood and blood products, despite years of research, have yet to be replicated in a lab. Whole blood consists of living cells in a non-living matrix and makes up 8% of your total body weight. Transfusions of blood products can only take place when donor blood is available. The process of whole blood centrifuging occurs when fresh donor blood is placed into a centrifuge machine to be spun causing the blood to be separated by components. The heavier elements (RBC’s) collect at the bottom of the tube and the lighter elements stay at the top (WBC, Plt’s, & plasma).
Blood is typed according to the ABO blood typing system. Blood Typing is a method to determine what blood group a person has. To know what blood type you have is critical to safely donate blood or receive a blood transfusion. Your blood type is based on whether or not certain proteins, called antigens, are on your red blood cells and if you have antibodies against those antigens in your plasma. Blood typing also tests for the Rh factor, a protein present on the surface of red blood cells.