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Blood transfusion - 4

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VOL: 97, ISSUE: 28, PAGE NO: 45

CLAIRE ATTERBURY, SPECIALIST NURSE, QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL, KING'S LYNN, NORFOLK

Vital signs must be taken before starting a transfusion so as to form a baseline, and then 15 minutes later (British Committee for Standards in Haematology, 1999). Any serious acute haemolytic reactions will usually occur within the first 15 minutes of a transfusion. After that time local policy should be followed.

Vital signs must be taken before starting a transfusion so as to form a baseline, and then 15 minutes later (British Committee for Standards in Haematology, 1999). Any serious acute haemolytic reactions will usually occur within the first 15 minutes of a transfusion. After that time local policy should be followed.

There are many types of reactions to a blood transfusion and some are more common than others. It is important that nurses know how to react when a transfusion reaction occurs.

Patients must be observed regularly while they are being transfused and asked whether they have any symptoms. Patient information booklets are helpful for informing patients about possible side-effects that they should report.

In the past, a pyrogenic reaction occurred when the patient's antileucocyte (white cell) antibodies reacted against the donor's white cells. Patients with a pyrogenic reaction experience a rise in temperature accompanied by chills and rigors, often towards the end of a transfusion or afterwards. This reaction is now very rare as blood is leucodepleted.

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