Paediatric Blood Transfusion

Paediatric Blood Transfusion Procedure

Paediatric Blood Transfusion

What is a paediatric blood transfusion?

    Blood transfusions involve the introduction of blood into the organism. Your infant receives donated blood through one of their blood vessels during a blood transfusion. Typically, a syringe is inserted into a vein in the arm. The needle is connected to a catheter, a thin, flexible conduit. This is known as an intravenous (IV) catheter. Through this IV line, blood is infused into a vein.

    Blood has multiple components. Plasma is the blood's liquid component. It contains water, proteins, coagulation factors, hormones, and additional substances.

    The plasma contains numerous red blood cells (RBCs). These massive cells contain haemoglobin. Haemoglobin enables RBCs to transport oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. The entire body requires oxygen, so it is essential to have sufficient RBCs.

    Blood contains white blood cells as well. These aid the immune system in fighting infection.

    And blood contains platelets, which are smaller cells. These aid in blood clotting. Additionally, proteins known as clotting factors help blood coagulate. Without these, the body cannot staunch even the smallest of wounds.

    Whole blood is blood that contains all of these components. Blood transfusions are typically performed with only a portion of the blood. Your infant may receive one or more of these blood components, depending on their requirements.

    When receiving a blood transfusion, receiving the correct blood type is essential. There are four significant varieties of blood: A, B, AB, and O. These categories describe molecules known as antigens on the surface of blood cells. Antigens are substances that can provoke an immune system response.

    Rh factor is an additional form of antigen. Rh blood can be either positive or negative. Each individual's blood is one of eight distinct types: A+, A, B+, B, AB+, AB, O+, and O.

    If people receive the incorrect blood type, their immune system will respond. This serious condition can produce severe symptoms, including fever, muscle aches, and breathing difficulties. It can occasionally be fatal.

    People with blood type O lack the molecules A, B, and Rh in their blood cells. They are known as universal donors because they can donate blood to anyone.

    AB+ individuals have all three molecules (A, B, and Rh) in their blood cells and can securely receive blood from any individual.

    Other blood types can only donate and receive blood from compatible blood types.

Why might my infant require a transfusion of blood?

    Your infant may need a blood transfusion if they have experienced any of the following:

  • A severe injury that has caused significant blood loss, a procedure that caused consequential blood loss
  • A liver disorder that prevents the body from producing specific blood components.
  • A condition of bleeding, such as haemophilia
  • A disease that reduces the number or quality of red blood cells (anaemia).
  • Kidney failure, which impedes blood cell production, causes anaemia.
  • Cancer therapy (chemotherapy) that inhibits the body's production of blood cells.

    Distinct medical conditions may necessitate different blood transfusion types. For instance, following surgery, your child may require only RBCs. If your infant has a severe infection, they may need plasma. An infant undergoing cancer treatment may require platelets or white blood cells. Your child's healthcare provider can explain why they require a blood transfusion and which type is ideal.

What are the risks of blood transfusions for a child?

    Every procedure has inherent dangers. Risks associated with blood transfusions include:

  • A hypersensitive reaction. This can vary in severity. Itching or rash are examples of mild symptoms. Severe symptoms include breathing difficulties, chest discomfort, and nausea. These symptoms may manifest immediately after a blood transfusion or within 24 hours.
  • Fever. This is possible within 24 hours of the blood transfusion. Typically, it is temporary.

    Destruction of red blood cells (haemolytic reaction) by the body. A haemolytic reaction occurs when the body assaults the RBCs that have been donated. This happens when a person receives a blood type incompatible with their own. Donated blood undergoes a meticulous matching procedure, so this reaction is highly uncommon. If this occurs, it can result in chills, fever, kidney injury, and other severe symptoms. Symptoms may manifest during the blood transfusion or within the hours that follow.

  • Additionally, a delayed haemolytic reaction is possible. This can occur even if the correct blood type is given to your child. This may take several days or weeks to appear. It may not cause any symptoms, but it can reduce the RBC count in your child.
  • Too much blood (transfusion overload) body. A person may experience transfusion excess if they receive more blood than necessary. It can result in difficulty of breath as well as other symptoms. Typically, the symptoms appear within a few hours to a day. It is more prevalent in individuals with cardiac problems. The use of diuretics following a blood transfusion may prevent this issue.
  • Too much iron in the body (iron overload). This can occur in patients who require frequent blood transfusions due to an ongoing medical condition.
  • Infectious agents are being transmitted. Among the viruses are HIV and hepatitis. Before blood transfusions, blood undergoes a thorough screening process. The risk of transmitting a virus is highly negligible.
  • Graft versus host disease. This is a condition in which newly donated blood cells assault the body's cells. It is a severe but uncommon condition. It only affects individuals with highly compromised immune systems. Symptoms such as fever and rash may develop within a month of a blood transfusion.

    Your child's risks may vary according to their general health, the type of blood transfusion, and whether your child has had a blood transfusion before. Discuss with the healthcare provider any risks that may apply to your child.

How should I prepare my child for a blood transfusion?

    Your child will likely require little preparation for a blood transfusion. Your child's healthcare provider will inform you if your child requires any preparation.

    Inform the healthcare provider if your child has ever experienced an adverse reaction to a blood transfusion. A medication may be administered to your infant to prevent an allergic reaction.

    Before a blood transfusion, a consent form is required at most hospitals. This document must be signed by either you or another family member.

    Before a blood transfusion, the blood type of your infant may be determined through testing. This is to ensure that your infant receives the appropriate blood type. The doctor may prick your child's finger to obtain a few droplets of blood. Or, blood may be extracted from a vein in your child's limb.

What happens during a child's blood transfusion?

    During the procedure, your child will receive blood donated by one or more individuals. Sometimes, your infant may receive blood previously drawn from them. Or your infant may receive blood from a relative or friend.

    A medical professional will disinfect the area where the IV will be inserted. Most likely, in the arm, they will insert an IV into one of your child's vessels. Blood or blood components will be transported through this line. The entire process may take between 1 and 4 hours.

    A healthcare professional will monitor your child for evidence of adverse reactions, most likely within the first fifteen minutes. Tell your child to contact a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms.

    During the procedure, your child should be able to consume, drink, and use the restroom with assistance. The healthcare provider will inform you of what else to anticipate.

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