Blood transfusion: indications, administration and adverse reactions

Donated blood is not transfused to the recipient until it has been processed into its separate blood components. Red cells are transfused in anaemia to provide adequate oxygen delivery. Plasma (Octaplas®) is transfused in haemorrhage to provide coagulation factors when the haemorrhage is not caused by the deficiency of a single coagulation factor. Platelets, i.e. thrombocytes, are indicated for the management of bleeding or in thrombocytopenia to promote haemostasis when the platelet number or function is insufficient. In primary care, the use of blood products is limited to the treatment of symptomatic chronic anaemia when no alternative treatment is available. Platelet transfusions may also occasionally be administered outside hospital, for example to patients with haematological diseases.