3.1 Introduction

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the types of blood products prescribed for common conditions
  • Explain how a person’s ABO blood type and Rh factor impact blood product compatibility
  • Describe transfusion reactions and their treatments
  • Apply evidence-based guidelines for the safe administration of blood products
  • Apply the nursing process to prevent, identify, and treat potential complications associated with blood administration
  • Describe autologous blood donation
  • Incorporate modifications in blood product administration to reflect variations across the life span and cultural beliefs

A blood product is any therapeutic substance derived from human blood, including whole blood and other blood components for transfusion and plasma-derived medicinal products.

Quality-assured blood products contribute to improving and saving millions of lives every year by doing the following[1]:

  • Addressing child and maternal health and mortality
  • Dramatically improving the life expectancy and quality of life of patients suffering from life-threatening inherited disorders, such as hemophilia, thalassemia, and immune deficiency, and acquired conditions such as cancer and traumatic hemorrhage
  • Supporting complex medical and surgical procedures, including transplantation

Types of blood products include whole blood, packed red blood cells (PRBCs), individual factor concentrates, fresh frozen plasma (FFP), platelet concentrates, and cryoprecipitate. Transfusion of blood products is a common procedure with nearly 16 million blood components transfused each year in the United States.[2] 

Transfusion therapy can restore intravascular volume, increase oxygen-carrying capacity, and provide coagulation factors. However, it also involves risks for the development of life-threatening complications. The nurse plays an integral role in safe transfusion therapy from initiation to completion and must meticulously adhere to best practices and safety guidelines. In this chapter you will be introduced to the basic concepts of blood product administration and apply the nursing process to blood product administration.



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