Intravenous (IV) transfusions are used to treat many health problems and have become a common way to deliver additional levels of oxygen and blood products to patients. There are, however, health risks associated with IV transfusions. Read on to learn about the possible complications from a blood transfusion.
Medications Administered By Intravenous Transfusion
Intravenous (IV) transfusions are used to deliver medications to patients when they require a quick response. Common medications administered via IV transfusions include antibiotics, electrolytes, fluids, and nutrition. In some cases, a particular medication may be recalled due to safety concerns. One example of this is Tepezza, a treatment for thyroid eye disease, which was recalled in 2020 due to reports of hearing loss in some patients. In response to the recall, many lawsuits were filed against the manufacturer.
In addition to medications, IV transfusions can also be used to provide blood products such as red blood cells and platelets. These products are used to treat anemia, low platelet counts, and blood clotting problems.
IV transfusions can also be used to provide stem cells for stem cell transplants, which are used to treat certain types of cancer, as well as to provide immune globulin and clotting factor concentrates for those with certain diseases or conditions.
Hemolysis is the destruction of red blood cells that can occur as a result of an intravenous (IV) transfusion. It occurs when the red blood cells are exposed to a foreign substance, such as incompatible blood or medications, or to an environment that is too acidic or too alkaline. Hemolysis can also be caused by mechanical forces, such as rapid blood flow or high pressures, or by an immune reaction to the donor blood.
When hemolysis occurs, red blood cells may be destroyed and their contents, such as hemoglobin, may leak into the bloodstream. This can lead to a decrease in the patient’s hemoglobin levels, as well as an increase in free hemoglobin. Free hemoglobin can cause further damage to the kidneys, lungs, and other organs, and can lead to anemia, respiratory distress, and other health and safety problems. In severe cases, hemolysis can be life-threatening.
To prevent complications from hemolysis, it is important to ensure that the donor and recipient blood are compatible, that the environment for the transfusion is carefully monitored, and that the rate of transfusion is appropriate. In addition, any medications administered via IV transfusions should be carefully monitored to ensure that they are not causing hemolysis.
Bacterial contamination is a common complication associated with intravenous (IV) transfusions. This can occur when bacteria or other microorganisms are introduced to the blood during the transfusion process. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the needle or catheter used for the transfusion, or through the blood products themselves. Bacterial contamination can lead to serious infections, including sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
In order to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, it is important to follow proper safety protocols when preparing and administering IV transfusions. This includes ensuring that the equipment is sterile, that the blood products are stored and handled properly, and that the transfusion is monitored closely for any signs of contamination. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the donor and recipient blood types are compatible.
Bacterial contamination can also occur if the IV transfusion is not given correctly. If the needle or catheter is not inserted correctly or if the rate of transfusion is too fast, this can cause the transfer of bacterial organisms into the bloodstream. Additionally, if the IV transfusion is not given at the correct pressure, this can cause the blood products to become contaminated.
It is also important to properly dispose of IV equipment after the transfusion is complete. If the equipment is not disposed of properly, bacteria or other organisms can remain on the equipment and be transferred to the next patient. To reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, all IV equipment should be adequately sanitized before it is reused.
Hemorrhage is an excess loss of blood, which can occur as a result of either a blood transfusion or an infusion. This can occur in any part of the body, including the stomach and brain. Blood loss can be caused by many different factors and can be a cause of shock.1 The blood loss from a blood transfusion can be controlled with proper blood management, but hemorrhage is a very serious complication that requires immediate attention.
Acute Kidney Injury
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious complication of intravenous (IV) transfusions that can lead to permanent kidney damage and even death. AKI occurs when the kidneys are unable to filter waste products from the blood due to a sudden decrease in blood flow. This can be caused by several factors, including dehydration, a reaction to medications, or a transfusion of incompatible blood. IV transfusions can cause AKI if the blood is not compatible with the recipient, if the rate of transfusion is too fast, or if the equipment used is not sterile.
Incompatible blood transfusions can cause AKI if the donor and recipient have different blood types. This can cause a reaction between the donor and recipient blood that can lead to the destruction of red blood cells, known as hemolysis. Hemolysis can lead to an increase in free hemoglobin in the bloodstream, which can damage the kidneys. Additionally, if the rate of transfusion is too fast, this can cause fluid overload, leading to a decrease in the kidneys’ ability to filter waste products. Finally, if the IV equipment is not sterile, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause an infection, leading to AKI.
AKI can be a life-threatening complication of IV transfusions, and it is important to take all necessary precautions to reduce the risk. This includes ensuring that donor and recipient blood types are compatible, that the IV equipment is sterile, and that the rate of transfusion is appropriate. Additionally, it is important to monitor patients closely for signs of AKI, such as rapid weight gain, decreased urine output, or changes in blood pressure. If AKI is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Intravenous (IV) transfusions are very important for patients who are critically ill or who require additional levels of oxygen and blood products to survive. The potential complications associated with a transfusion can be managed with proper monitoring and administration of medications to prevent or minimize any potential problems.
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