Blood Transfusion Reactions: Causes and Symptoms
When blood is transferred through intravenous lines (IVs), the process is called a blood transfusion.
A blood transfusion procedure is done in people with low blood or blood components. Blood transfusions can save your life.
Blood transfusion service is available in all cities and blood banks have been established to reduce blood necessity. Transfusion of blood is done in various situations like if you are undergoing surgery, anemia, sickle cell disease, particular kind of cancers, and hemophilia.
This life-saving procedure also has some life-threatening problems. A blood transfusion can be performed at a blood transfusion hospital.
What causes blood transfusion reaction:
To avoid transfusion reactions matching the correct blood group plays a major role. Positives AB and AB negatives, neutrals B and B negatives, positives O and negatives, positives and negatives AB.
These blood are well analyzed and transfused into the body of the recipient. Your blood contains antigens, and if the antigens are mismatched your body might consider it to be a foreign particle and fight to destroy it.
To avoid such cases of transfusion reactions, blood banks ensure to run a couple of tests before determining the blood group type.
The reactions caused by blood transfusion are rare, but they can be life-threatening when they occur and can cause severe damage to the kidneys and lungs. In cases of reactions, you will receive blood transfusion treatment to avoid complications.
When the recipient receives the blood with mismatched antigens from the donor. The recipient’s immune system attacks the newly transfused blood. This kind of reaction is called a hemolytic reaction. When the transfused blood causes allergic reactions that cause symptoms like itching and hives.
This kind of mild reaction is treated with histamines. Another type of blood transfusion reaction is transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI).
In this type of reaction, the donors’ plasma may contain antibodies that can damage the lungs of the recipient. This reaction causes fluid buildup in the lungs and this results in declined oxygen supply throughout the body.
This reaction starts usually after 6 hours of transfusion. TRALI has symptoms like severe shortness of breath, fever, and low blood pressure.
In rare instances, the donor blood may be contaminated with bacteria and when the contaminated blood is transfused, the bacteria in the blood can lead to shock and infection.
This can also be fatal. This reaction includes symptoms like chills, fever, and low blood pressure. When a recipient receives blood higher than the required level it is called transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO).
In general what happens when something is overloaded it needs to work extra to accomplish it. Similarly, when the transfused blood is overloaded the heart pumps fast and pushes itself to work harder. This results in fluid retention in the lungs.
In a few cases, the donor blood may be loaded with iron content, this causes iron overload in the recipients’ body and damages the heart and liver. The symptoms of TACO include rapid breathing, coughing, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat.
Usually, blood transfusion reactions are mild and acute. Life-threatening situations can occur in rare instances. These reactions include acute kidney failure, anemia, lung problems, especially pulmonary edema, and shock.
Symptoms for Blood Transfusion reaction:
Symptoms of reactions caused by blood transfusion are different from each reaction. Most common symptoms include fever, chills, hives, and itching can be experienced in every reaction caused by blood transfusion.
Few symptoms like low blood pressure, red urine, high fever, and respiratory distress are signs of serious illness. Briefing down below is the symptoms and types of blood transfusion reactions.
Simple allergic reactions: Even after undergoing proper tests and transfusing perfectly matched blood can also cause few allergic reactions. Now, these kinds of reactions are due to the allergens present in the donors’ blood like gluten or peanut allergies your body starts reacting towards it. Symptoms for these simple allergic reactions include rash, hives, and itching. This reaction can be treated by stopping the transfusion or by consuming antihistamines to treat allergies.
Anaphylactic Transfusion Reaction: These reactions are caused when immunoglobulin A deficiency and IgA in plasma is seen. In addition to flushed skin, swelling, wheezing, blue lips, vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood pressure, other symptoms include swelling, swollen faces, and difficulty breathing. This reaction can be treated by stopping the transfusion and consuming antihistamines and IV steroids.
Febrile non-hemolytic transfusion reaction: This is the most common type of reaction. It appears after 4 hours of transfusion with an unexplained rise in temperature. Symptoms include fever and chills. In case you experience any of these you can always visit a Blood Transfusion Hospital in Coimbatore for further treatment.
Acute Hemolytic Transfusion Reaction: This reaction usually appears during or after 24 hours of transfusion. Symptoms include chills, low blood pressure, and renal failure.
In addition to fever, jaundice, abdominal pain, dark urine, and high blood pressure, delayed transfusion reactions can produce labored breathing.
Transfusion-associated graft versus host disease can bring in symptoms like rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and bone marrow failure.
Post Transfusion purpura (PTP) has bleeding in the gastrointestinal and urinary tract and fever and chills.
After a blood transfusion, you need to take extra care and look out for any kind of symptoms for about 24 hours. As many symptoms appear after 24 to 48 hours of the transfusion.