Where does blood for a blood transfusion come from?

Typically, the blood comes from an anonymous person who has donated it for use as hospitals see fit. A blood bank holds the blood until needed for a transfusion.

In some cases, though, people donate blood to directly benefit a friend or loved one. You may also have the chance to bank your own blood for a scheduled surgery.

How does a blood transfusion work?

The donated blood or blood components are stored in special medical bags until they are needed. Your healthcare provider connects the needed bag of blood to an intravenous line made of tubing. A needle at the end of the tubing is inserted into one of your veins and the blood or blood components begins to be delivered into your circulatory system.

What can I expect during the transfusion?

Before your transfusion, your nurse will:

  • Check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature.
  • Make sure the donor blood type is a match for your blood type.
  • Make sure that the supplied blood is the product ordered by your doctor and is labeled with your name.

During your transfusion, your nurse will:

  • Recheck your blood pressure and pulse after 15 minutes.
  • Recheck your blood pressure and pulse at the end of the transfusion.

How long does a blood transfusion take?

How long a blood transfusion takes depends on many factors, including how much blood and/or blood component you need. Most transfusions take between one and three hours. Talk to your healthcare provider for more specifics about your needs.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy