Blood transfusion reactions
Blood Transfusion Reactions

Blood Transfusion Reactions: Definition, Categories, and How To Overcome It

Blood Transfusion Reactions: Definition, Categories, and How To Overcome It – Blood transfusions are one form of transplantation where all or part of a person’s blood components are given to other people who are made to maintain the ability of blood carrying oxygen to the tissues, preventing the lack of fluid. Blood transfusions are only done on the basis of indications and emergency, if done inappropriately and irrational can cause various fatal consequences.

The decision making for transfusions is in the hands of the medical person whose management is most often delegated to nurses. . Transfusion is also a staple duty of nurses listed in the 12 nurse core competencies. So the important role in the success of blood transfusions is in the nursery, which should be known when the treatment of blood transfusions is a reaction that arises during the transfusion process and how it occurs.

Blood transfusions can be whole blood and blood components only. For the separation of blood components needed apheresis machine equipment. Blood transfusions can stimulate the immune and other effects in patients.

The potential complications of blood transfusions are numerous, but at this time the problem of complications is only found in patients who have repeatedly gotten a transfusion or need a lot of blood. Since transfusion has considerable risk, the consideration of risk and benefit should really be done carefully before deciding on transfusion.

Definition of Blood Transfusion Reactions.

Blood transfusion reactions are all occurrences of a follow up that occurs due to blood transfusions. The potential for complications in blood transfusions is quite large, but most problems arise only in patients requiring repeated or large amounts of transfusions. The risks associated with transfusions of specific components of the blood are fairly low. However, such risks should be taken into consideration with the profit of any transfusions that is performed (Weinstein, 2000).

To ensure that blood transfusions will not cause a reaction to the recipient, before giving blood transfusions from the donor to the recipient, it is necessary to do an ABO and Rhesus blood group examination, and a cross test that is compatible between the donor blood and recipient blood.

Although donor and patient blood groups are the same, there can be discrepancies (incompatibilities) in the cross-matched tests. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the cause of incompatibility with the cross test matching between donor and patient blood.

The risk of blood transfusions can be distinguished by rapid and slow reactions.

Acute Blood Transfusion reactions: Categories and How To Overcome It.

Acute reactions are reactions that occur during transfusions or within 24 hours after transfusions. Acute reactions can be divided into three categories: mild, moderate-weight and a life-threatening reaction.

Mild reaction.

Mild reactions are characterized by the onset of pruritus, urticaria and rash. This mild reaction is caused by mild hypersensitivity.

Mild reactions are treated with antipyretic, antihistamine or corticosteroid administration, and the introduction of transfusions with droplets slows down.

Moderate-weight reactions.

Moderate-weight reactions are characterized by symptoms of restlessness, weakness, pruritus, palpitations, mild dyspnea and headache. In the examination physics can be found reddish color in the skin, urticaria, fever, tachycardia, muscle stiffness. 

Read also: Pressure Points for Headaches: Benefits and How To Massage It.

Moderate-weight reactions are usually caused by moderate-severe hypersensitivity, fever due to non-hemolytic transfusion reactions (antibodies to leukocytes, proteins, platelets), pyrogen and/or bacterial contamination.

Life-threatening reaction.

In a life-threatening reaction to the symptoms of restlessness, chest pain, pain around the insertion of infusions, short breaths, back pain, headache, and Dispnea.

Read also: Pain on Right Side of Chest: The Signs and Causes.

There are also signs of stiff muscles, fever, weakness, hypotension (decreased ≥ 20% systolic blood pressure), tachycardia (increase ≥ 20%), hemoglobinuria and unclear bleeding. This reaction is caused by acute intravascular hemolysis, bacterial contamination, septic shock, excess fluid, anaphylaxis and acute pulmonary failure due to transfusion.

Reactions and CausesSigns and symptoms


  • Allergen in donor blood.
  • Hypersensitive blood donors to certain drugs.
Anaphylaxis (chills, facial swelling, laryngeal edema, pruritus, urticaria, wheezing), fever, nausea and vomiting.

Bacterial contamination.

  • Organisms that can survive in cold temperatures, such as Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus.
Chills, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, shock, signs of kidney failure.


  • Lipopolysaccharide bacteria.
  • leukocyte antibodies recipient.
Temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius, shivering, headache, facial redness, palpitations, coughing, chest tightness, increased heart rate, pelvic pain.


  • ABO or Rh incompatibility.
  • Intradonor incompatibility.
  • Incorrect cross-blood testing.
  • Improper storage of blood.
Chest pain, dyspnea, facial redness, fever, shivering, shaking, hypotension, pelvic pain, hemoglobinuria, Oliguria, out of the blood at the place of excision or the place of surgical incision, burning sensation along the place of blood entry vein, shock, renal failure.

Plasma protein incompatibility.

  • Incompatibility of immunoglobulin A
Abdominal pain, diarrhea, dyspnea, chills, fever, facial redness, hypotension.

Nursing intervention in the event of a blood transfusion reaction.

  • Stop transfusions.
  • Patient Review.
  • Medical Inform.
  • Follow other policies and procedures of your institution in the face of transfusion reactions.

Thank you very much for reading Blood Transfusion Reactions: Definition, Categories, and How To Overcome It, hopefully useful.

Last Updated on February 28, 2022 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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