A blood transfusion is a procedure that transfers donor blood into a patient via intravenous injection. Donated blood products are kept in sterile bags and pumped slowly through an IV into a vein or artery of the person receiving the blood. In the past, blood transfusion recipients received whole blood, but many patients had complications due to incompatibility with some parts of the transfused fluid. Current practices can accommodate the transfusion of specific blood components.
Blood transfusions are done to help replace components of blood lost due to an illness or condition. Diseases of the liver and kidney and certain cancers can cause anemia or prevent the body from creating some components of blood. Also, medications and radiation may cause problems with building and maintaining healthy blood cells.
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