There are many reasons you may need a blood transfusion:
- After knee or hip replacement surgery, or other major surgery that results in blood loss
- After a serious injury that causes a lot of bleeding
- When your body cannot make enough blood
A blood transfusion is a safe and common procedure during which you receive blood through an intravenous (IV) line placed in one of your blood vessels. It takes 1 to 4 hours to receive the blood, depending on how much you need.
There are several sources of blood which are described below.
Blood From the Public (Volunteer Blood Donation)
The most common source of blood is from volunteers in the general public. This kind of donation is also called homologous blood donation.
Many communities have a blood bank at which any healthy person can donate blood. This blood is tested to see if it matches yours.
You may have read about the danger of becoming infected with hepatitis, HIV, or other viruses after a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are not 100% safe. But the current blood supply is thought to be safer now than ever. Donated blood is tested for many different infections. Also, blood centers keep a list of unsafe donors.
Donors answer a detailed list of questions about their health before they are allowed to donate. Questions include risk factors for infections that can be passed on through their blood, such as sexual habits, drug use, and current and past travel history. This blood is then tested for infectious diseases before it is allowed to be used.