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Blood Transfusions

If you or a family member needs a blood transfusion, you can count on University of Colorado Health for the highest standards of quality and safety.

Our skilled team, precise testing equipment, and donor-screening safeguards all contribute to care you can trust.

Reasons for blood transfusion

Nearly every hour of the day, patients at UCHealth receive life-giving blood transfusions. Patients who need blood include:

  • Critically ill patients of all ages, including newborn babies and children
  • Cancer patients whose chemotherapy interferes with the body's ability to produce white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets
  • Patients undergoing major surgeries, such as open heart surgery
  • Trauma patients who require emergency surgery

How transfusions work

If your doctor decides you need a blood transfusion, you can expect the following:

  • A medical technologist draws a blood sample from you and places a special identification band on your arm.
  • A medical technologist tests your blood to determine the type, takes a sample from a unit of donated blood, and performs tests to make sure the donated blood is yours.
  • When the transfusion starts, the blood will be given through an IV. A nurse will administer the transfusion and monitor your vital signs while you’re receiving blood. If the transfusion happens during surgery, other healthcare professionals may administer the transfusion.

This process usually takes about one to two hours. Your nurse can tell you what to expect for your specific situation.

A safe blood supply

Your blood transfusion is safe in our hands.

Because your health is our top priority, we adhere to the highest standards of quality. On a voluntary basis, we’ve achieved accreditation from the American Association of Blood Banks, meeting stringent requirements for the safety and reliability of our blood supply. Our blood transfusion laboratory is also accredited by the College of American Pathologists and registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in accordance with federal law.

A specialized doctor called a pathologist oversees the blood transfusion laboratory, including the blood bank.

At UCHealth, we never lose sight of the fact that every tube of blood represents a person who needs our help.

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