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patient education

Red Blood Cell Transfusions for Sickle Cell Disease

key information

source: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

year: N/A


This type of procedure involves the transfer of red blood cells from one (1) person to another. Red blood cells are obtained when a person donates blood. The red cells are separated from the other parts of blood. These red blood cells are collected in a bag, stored in a refrigerator, and then given to another person through a vein. Donated blood cells are carefully tested for infections and closely matched to the recipient to prevent reactions.

Normal red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. The red blood cells of people with sickle cell disease do not deliver oxygen as well as normal red blood cells do.
In addition, these cells may change into a sickle shape, which blocks the fl ow of blood through the vessels. When a person with sickle cell disease has certain complications (health problems) from the disease, transfusing normal red blood cells may help deliver oxygen to the body and unblock blood vessels.


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