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Having a Blood Transfusion

Before your test
Your doctor will call and schedule your transfusion for you. This procedure is performed on outpatients only at WakeMed Cary Hospital. Click  to go to a map.

What to bring to your test

  • The completed WakeMed Physician Order Form
  • Your insurance card and information
  • Any papers your doctor tells you to bring

When you arrive
When you arrive, please report to the Patient Registration area.  At Patient Registration, you will be asked for information that is required for our records and  for billing purposes.

You will be asked to wear an armband. This armband will have your name, medical record number, birth date and other hospital information. You must have this armband on in order to have your blood transfusion.

Why do I need a blood transfusion?

  • The number of red blood cell in you body may be low.  They carry oxygen to all cells of the body.  A transfusion will increase the number of red blood cells.
  • The number of your blood platelets may be low.  Platelets are important to help your blood to clot.  A transfusion will increase the platelet level.

How is transfusion done?

  • A nurse will review your medical history and will take your pulse and temperature.
  • An IV will be started in your arm and some blood will be sent to the lab.
  • A unit of blood is checked and matched to your blood type by the lab staff.
  • Before the transfusion is started, the nurse will check again and match your hospital armband to the information on the unit of blood.
  • The blood is transfused to you through the IV line.

Will the transfusion hurt?
When the needle is inserted, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. After the transfusion, there may be some throbbing.

Before the transfusion
There are no restrictions on food, liquid or medications prior to this procedure.

How long will it take for the transfusion?
It will take approximately four to five hours for your transfusion - about an hour for the lab to test your blood and select a matching unit for transfusion, and then up to four (4) hours for the blood to be transfused, depending on the orders from your physician.

What will the laboratory ask me to do?
You will be asked to lie flat on your back on the bed and relax.  You should notify your caregiver if you experience a rash, nausea, sudden chills and/or fever, headache, or anxiety during the transfusion.  The nurse will check your temperature and pulse when the transfusion has completed. Once you have been cleared by the nurse, you may go home.