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Necessary Precautions to be taken before a Blood Transfusion

  • Verify that an order for the transfusion exists.
  • Conduct a thorough physical assessment of the patient (including vital signs) to help identify later changes.
  • Document your findings. Confirm that the patient has given informed consent.
  • Teach the patient about the procedures associated risks and benefits, what to expect during the transfusion, signs and symptoms of a reaction, and when and how to call for assistance.
  • Check for an appropriate and patent vascular access.
  • Make sure necessary equipment is at hand for administering the blood product and managing a reaction, such as an additional free I.V. line for normal saline solution, oxygen, suction, and a hypersensitivity kit.
  • Be sure you're familiar with the specific product to be transfused, the appropriate administration rate, and required patient monitoring. Be aware that the type of blood product and patients condition usually dictate the infusion rate. For example, blood must be infused faster in a trauma victim who's rapidly losing blood than in a 75-year-old patient with heart failure, who may not be able to tolerate rapid infusion.
  • Know what personnel will be available in the event of a reaction, and how to contact them. Resources should include the on-call physician and a blood bank representative.
  • Before hanging the blood product, thoroughly double-check the patients identification and verify the actual product. Check the unit to be transfused against patient identifiers, per facility policy.
  • Infuse the blood product with normal saline solution only, using filtered tubing.

Refrence
Silvergleid A. Immunologic blood transfusion reactions. UpToDate. October 17, 2008. www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=~EE8E1UGcUSyKQT. Accessed December 22, 2008.
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