A blood transfusion is a routine medical procedure in which donated blood is provided to a person through a narrow tube placed within a vein in the arm.
This potentially life-saving procedure can help replace blood lost due to surgery or injury. A blood transfusion also can help if an illness prevents the body from making blood or some of the blood's components correctly.
Blood transfusions usually occur without complications. When complications do occur, they're typically mild.
People receive blood transfusions for many reasons — such as surgery, injury, disease and bleeding disorders.
A transfusion provides the part or parts of blood needed, with red blood cells being the most commonly transfused. Person can also receive whole blood, which contains all the parts, but whole blood transfusions aren't common. Researchers are working on developing artificial blood. So far, no good replacement for human blood is available.
Blood transfusions are generally considered safe, but there is some risk of complications. Mild complications and rarely severe ones can occur during the transfusion or several days or more after.
More common reactions include allergic reactions, which might cause hives and itching, and fever. Blood banks screen donors and test donated blood to reduce the risk of transfusion-related infections, so infections, such as HIV or hepatitis B or C, are extremely rare.
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