When You Need a Transfusion
Can Adverse Health Effects Result from a Transfusion?
The risk of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus—the virus that causes AIDS) and hepatitis (B or C) infection from a blood transfusion has been all but eliminated due to improved laboratory testing. The risk of exposure to HIV is estimated to be approximately 1 in 2.5 million or less per unit. Since 1985, no patient has been reported to have contracted HIV from a transfusion provided by Puget Sound Blood Center. The risk of hepatitis C infection is estimated to be approximately 1 in 1 million or less per unit, and the risk of hepatitis B, approximately 1 in 750,000 or less per unit. Bacterial infection and other types of infection from a transfusion are possible, although also unlikely.
This information pamphlet does not serve as a substitute for the transfusion consent process as conducted by the patient’s hospital or physician, nor for an explanation of the need for a transfusion.
Transfusion: What You Should Know
If you have questions contact your physician, or call the Puget Sound Blood Center Transfusion Information Line, at 206-292-1840.