Blood transfusions, though life-saving, can result in serious and dangerous consequences. Various studies in select patient populations have shown increased rates of infection and longer hospital stays with transfusion.
A slight risk of allergic reaction and a risk of human error exist when receiving blood products, not to mention many more adverse and dangerous reactions that can cause serious problems.
During surgery, anemic patients have a greater chance of receiving blood products. However, most people don’t realize they are anemic until a blood test shows a low hemoglobin or hematocrit. Before surgery, ask your doctor to test you for anemia.
Different causes and treatments exist for the many types of anemia, which occurs when the level of healthy red blood cells in the body becomes too low. Hemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
At the PET program at VCU Medical Center, a full-time coordinator will assist you in preventing or correcting treatable anemia and understanding your treatment options. For more information, contact Mary Jane Michael, R.N., coordinator for the VCU Medical Center Blood Management Program, or view the Medline Plus Web site.
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