Blood transfusions

If you lose a lot of blood or if some blood cells are damaged or there are not enough of them, you may need a blood transfusion. Like all medical treatments, a blood transfusion should only be given if it is essential. Your doctor will balance the risk of you having a blood transfusion against the risk of not having one before a decision is made.

Blood transfusion fact sheet, includes 18 translations

SA Health's BloodSafe program has provided a range of fact sheets to help you understand why you may need a blood transfusion, what you can do to reduce the need for a blood transfusion, as well as what a blood transfusion involves.

Refer to the Information about having a blood transfusion fact sheet (PDF 210KB) for more information. 

This fact sheet is also available in the following languages: 

Consent for transfusion

Unless you require a blood transfusion in an emergency situation, you (or a family member) will be asked to give consent. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service website provides detailed information on giving consent and what it means.

Children and transfusion

A number of resources have been produced to help explain what will happen and why transfusions are needed for children. For printed copies of the below publications, please contact BloodSafe.

Iron therapy

Iron therapy may be prescribed by your doctor if your body is low in iron or to increase your body’s iron reserves such as before major surgery. Low body iron levels can cause anaemia (low haemoglobin, or ‘Hb’ levels). Haemoglobin is the protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body and gives blood its red colour. For more information go to our Iron deficiency and iron therapy page.

Immunoglobulin infusions

Immunoglobulin infusions are used to treat a wide range of conditions affecting the immune system as well as some inflammatory disorders and infections. Immunoglobulin infusions are either given directly into a vein (intravenously) or into the tissues (subcutaneously).

BloodSafe has developed a guide for adults and children who require immunoglobulin infusions (PDF 195KB). It provides information about what to expect during and after treatment, risks and side effects and why you or your child may need an immunoglobulin infusion.

Pre-consent information  on intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment

The pre-consent fact sheet (PDF 109KB) provides information for prospective IVIg patients on the:

  • possible side effects
  • baseline and screening blood tests
  • need to regularly review your treatment with your medical specialist.