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Blood Transfusions

Options for Blood Transfusions

Blood products may be used before, during or after your child's surgery for a variety of reasons. Before surgery, blood may be necessary to treat anemia and stabilize heart function, especially in newborns with complex defects. During surgeries that require use of the heart-lung machine for smaller children, at least one unit of blood needs to be on hand to prime the machine. After surgery, blood may be necessary to replace blood lost from the use of chest drains or from samples collected for tests. Blood may be used from one of two sources. 

Your options are:

Blood bank — Blood available through a blood bank is carefully checked for blood type and rigorously tested to make sure it is free of infection and safe for your child.

Directed donor blood — Research shows that blood from blood banks is just as safe as blood from directed donors. However, you may choose to have a family member or friend donate blood that will be earmarked specifically for your child. This is an expensive way to secure blood, but it is an option. If you are interested in pursuing a directed donor blood donation, you'll need to start the process with the blood bank several days before surgery. Tests need to be conducted to make sure the blood is a match and free of infections.

For more information, call Cascade Regional Blood Services at 253-383-2553.