A blood transfusion is a routine medical procedure in which donated blood is provided to you through a narrow tube placed within a vein in your 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 your body from making blood or some of your blood’s components correctly.

Why might I need a blood transfusion?

People receive blood transfusions for various reasons — such as surgery, injury, disease and bleeding disorders.

The components of blood include:

  • Red cells carry oxygen and help remove waste products
  • White cells help your body fight infections
  • Plasma is the liquid part of your blood
  • Platelets help your blood clot properly

More information:

  • Most transfusions are done without any complications.
  • No special preparation is necessary before a blood transfusion. The donated blood used for your transfusion will be tested to ensure it is compatible with your blood type.
  • A blood transfusion may occur as part of your hospitalization or as an outpatient. This means you go home the same day. Blood transfusions typically take one to four hours, depending on which parts of the blood you receive and how much blood you need.

To learn more about blood transfusions, click here.

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