- Reference Number: HEY-166/2019
- Departments: Transfusion Service
- Last Updated: 15 November 2019
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This advice sheet has been produced to give you general information about your recent transfusion regarding the very small risk of developing a reaction. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet however it is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.
What are transfusion reactions?
Transfusion reactions describe a rare group of complications following treatment with blood and blood products which includes platelets and plasma. The majority of reactions happen during or immediately after the transfusion; however transfusion reactions can occur within 24 hours of a transfusion whereas delayed transfusion reactions may occur more than 24 hours after a transfusion. They are usually very mild in nature and may cause few problems.
What are the signs of a transfusion reaction?
The signs and symptoms of possible reactions include:
- A high temperature (especially above 38.5°C)
- Shivering or cold chills (rigors)
- Breathing problems
- Blood in your urine
- Itchy skin rash or nettle rash (hives/urticaria)
- Jaundice (yellow colour of the white of your eyes)
- Passing much less, or very dark urine
Why do you need to tell your Doctor or nurse about a reaction?
It is important that possible transfusion reactions are reported (however mild) so they can be treated appropriately and quickly by the team of professionals
experienced in managing them. If you have any concerns about your transfusion whilst in hospital please speak to the medical or nursing staff responsible for your care.
After discharge from the hospital what should you do if you think you are having a reaction ?
If you have any concerns about a possible transfusion reaction once you have been discharged from hospital please contact the ward where you were discharged from. Please contact the hospital switchboard on 01482 3298514 and ask to be put through to the ward that discharged you.
If you experience any unusual or unexpected symptoms occurring within 14 days of your blood transfusion, this should also be reported to your GP.
How to obtain further information
Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet. However, if you have any concerns whilst still in hospital about your transfusion or the risks and symptoms of reactions, please ask the medical or nursing staff looking after you.
For further information about transfusion please refer to:
Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You. www.hey.nhs.uk/privacy/data-protection
If you or your carer needs information about your health and well-being and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.