A blood transfusion involves taking blood from one person (the donor) and giving it to someone else.
You may need a blood transfusion for a number of reasons, including:
You can refuse a blood transfusion, but you need to fully understand the consequences of this before doing so. Some medical treatments or operations can't be safely carried out without a blood transfusion being given.
Each unit can take between 30 minutes and four hours. Depending on how much blood is needed, the whole procedure can take a significant length of time.
Blood donors are unpaid volunteers. They're carefully selected and tested to make sure the blood they donate is as safe as possible.
In the UK and other Western countries, there are strict regulations regarding blood donations and blood transfusions. The aim is to reduce the risk of a person being given blood contaminated with a virus, such as hepatitis C, or receiving blood from a blood group that's unsuitable for them.
Before making a blood donation, the potential donor is asked about their health, lifestyle and history.
You must be correctly identified to make sure you get the right blood transfusion. Wearing an identification band with your correct details is essential. You will be asked to state your full name and date of birth, and the details on your identification band will be checked before each bag of blood is given. You will be monitored closely during your transfusion.
When a donor has given blood, special equipment is used to separate the donation into different blood components, including:
A blood transfusion is a process that involves taking blood from one person (the donor) and giving it to someone else (the recipient). Blood donors are unpaid volunteers. They're carefully selected and tested to make sure the blood they donate is as safe as possible.
There are several different types of blood transfusion. Whether or not you need one depends on a number of factors. If you're told that you might need a blood transfusion, you should ask why it's necessary and whether there are alternative treatments.
If you're going to receive a blood transfusion as part of a planned course of treatment, the doctor, nurse or midwife planning your transfusion will usually obtain your informed consent for the procedure. A sample of your blood will be taken before the transfusion to check that the blood you receive is compatible with your own blood.
Blood transfusions are a fairly common procedure. The risk of serious side effects is low, as your blood is tested against the donor blood to make sure it is compatible and you will be monitored regularly during the transfusion.
Motorsport fanatic, Mike Austin, 34, will never forget the summer of 2006. While on his way to work on his much-loved motorbike, he received a blood transfusion after his motorbike collided with a car.
Nisa Karia, 30, who suffers from thalassaemia. She has needed blood transfusions for most of her life and has received more than 1,300 units of blood so far. Nisa was diagnosed with thalassaemia major when she was just five.