Understanding your blood needs
When a blood transfusion is needed, it falls under one of the following:
- Red cells > carry oxygen
- Plasma > supports blood volume
- Platelets > stop bleeding
When any of these are low, if can affect your heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. Low blood can weaken your health and recovery. Ask your doctor about your treatment needs and options. This checklist may help you:
- Why do I need a transfusion?
- How will it benefit me?
- What are the risks?
- What are the alternatives?
Choices for blood transfusion
- Unknown donor
- Donate your own blood
- Build up your blood with medications
- Recycle your own blood
Blood Management Options
A combination of techniques and strategies may be used.
Anemia or before surgery
Techniques are utilized prior to treatment to stimulate a person's ability to make blood through enhanced nutrition and certain medications.
- Synthetic erythropoietin - a hormone that stimulates production of red blood cells.
- Iron therapy - a mineral essential for formation of red blood cells.
- B12, folic acid and vitamin C - vitamins necessary for red blood cell growth.
Using a number of well-researched techniques, blood loss is minimized during surgery and any blood that might have otherwise been lost is recycled when possible.
The amount of blood used for laboratory testing is minimized by carefully choosing the tests to be performed and using significantly smaller tubes for blood draws. Additionally, techniques are utilized to stimulate a person's ability to make blood through enhanced nutrition and certain medications.