Crossmatching red cells with the patient is strongly recommended; patients can have a transfusion reaction even with their first transfusion.
Felines should always be blood typed and crossmatched prior to transfusing as they have naturally occurring alloantibodies.
To avoid circulatory overload dosage calculations and flow rates should be calculated as part of the total 24-hour fluid volume.
Patients should be regularly monitored throughout the transfusion. CABB provides a transfusion monitoring form with every blood product.
All blood products require the use of a blood filter. Use a standard blood filter when transfusing amounts more than 50 mL. Microaggregate filters are available for transfusing amounts less than 50 mL.
SALINE ONLY! Never use Ringer’s lactate or other dextrose solution. Do not add these solutions to a blood product or run at the same time as the transfusion (even if the lines are in different limbs). LRS is not compatible with the anticoagulant used in blood products and will cause clotting and/or hemolysis.
Thaw or warm blood products at temperatures not exceeding 37° C. NEVER use a microwave oven.
Frozen blood products are fragile. Seams and ports may crack or split if the unit is handled roughly or undergoes a rapid temperature change. Enclose the unit in a zipper style plastic bag when thawing.
Blood products should always be administered using gravity feed or syringe push. Do not administer blood products through an IV pump as it can cause hemolysis.
The rate of transfusion is governed by the clinical condition of the recipient. Blood products may be transfused as quickly as the patient can tolerate it but should be completed within 4 hours with some exceptions. Rapid transfusion is essential if the patient is in acute shock from blood loss. Normally, a slow drip for the first 10 to 30 minutes is advised. Most acute reactions occur during this time period and the transfusion can be stopped before a large amount has been transfused. The rate can be increased if the patient is tolerating the infusion well.