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Hospital Service >  Patient Education on Blood Transfusion
Patient Education on Blood Transfusion

What is a blood transfusion?

A transfusion is a medical procedure to correct a deficiency of blood or its parts. A person requiring a transfusion may need whole blood or blood components added directly to the bloodstream.

Each year, the Macau Blood Transfusion Service provides blood and transfusion medicine services for more than 25,000 transfusions.

Transfusions may be needed by patients as part of treatment for:
✓ Very low red blood cell count (Anemia)
✓ Injury with loss of blood
✓ Treatments that cause your body not to replace blood cells
✓ Surgery (in some cases)
✓ Other conditions
Benefits of blood/blood product transfusion:
✓ To add oxygen carrying cells to your circulation
✓ To replace lost blood/blood product
✓ To help blood to clot and stop bleeding
✓ To correct anemia and help your body heal
✓ To prevent shock
Alternatives to blood/blood product transfusion:
✓ Using your own blood/blood product. For more information about autologous
transfusion – call 87914337, or contact your physician or visit http://www.ssm.gov.mo/cts/ — Hospital Service.
✓ Certain medications to build up your blood count
✓ No treatment

 

What measures are taken to ensure the safety of the blood supply?

The blood supply in Macau is safer than it has ever been. The risk of infectious disease transmission has been nearly eliminated, thanks to multiple safeguards, including:
∎ Volunteer donors — studies prove that community volunteers are the safest source of blood for transfusions.
∎ A comprehensive evaluation of each donor’s medical and social history to exclude donors who participate in activities known to increase their risk of infections.
∎ Strict confidentiality, as well as the absence of incentives or pressure to donate, encourage honest answers and deferral of potential donors with possible health risks.
∎ A check of blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and a test for red cell concentration. Donors must meet prescribed medical requirements before a unit of blood is collected.
∎ Strict donation procedures using sterile supplies.
∎ Testing — laboratory technicians perform tests on each unit of blood, including tests for hepatitis B and C, HIV-1 and -2 (the viruses that cause AIDS), syphilis, and HTLV-I and II (rare viruses associated with leukemia or neurological problems).
✓ Any unit of blood that shows evidence of carrying a disease is discarded and the donor is deferred from subsequent donation. Before sending blood to a hospital for transfusion, it is tested for blood type (A, B, AB, O and Rh – positive or negative) and red cell antibodies.
✓ These testing procedures are monitored by Australia National Serology Reference Laboratory and The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Programs.

Can adverse health effects result from a transfusion?

Physicians prescribe transfusions to preserve thousands of patients’ lives each year. Donor screening procedures, the use of sterile blood collection equipment, and highly effective laboratory testing combine to nearly eliminate the risk of infectious disease transmission.
However, there is little chance that a donation is collected from an asymptomatic viremia donor infected with blood borne viruses, and this not being detected by the routine screening assays, mainly due to donor being in the diagnostic window period.In Macau, the risk of exposure to HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) as the result of a transfusion of a unit of blood is estimated to be approximately12.56 per million donations. The risk of hepatitis C infection from a unit of transfused blood is estimated to be approximately 11.75 in a million donations, and the risk of hepatitis B infection is estimated to be approximately 15.78 in 10,000 donations.

Overview of the other risks of blood/blood product transfusion2 :
✓ Febrile reaction: 1:60
✓ Transfusion-associated circulatory overload: 1:100
✓ Allergic reaction: 1:250
✓ TRALI: 1:12,000
✓ Fatal hemolysis: 1:1,972,000

What are the risks of not having a transfusion?

Red blood cells carry the oxygen in the blood to the vital organs, such as the brain or heart. A decrease in oxygen could result in damage to these organs. Transfusion may be needed to prevent such damage. When a patient has a low platelet count or a deficiency in clotting factor, he/she is at risk of bleeding. In some cases, this can result in serious major organ damage.



1 Estimation of Residual risks of HBV, HCV and HIV in Macao Blood Transfusion Service 2016 to 2018.
2 AABB clinical guidelines published JAMA November 15, 2016.