3-20. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF TRANSFUSION
Most of the rules for infusions also apply to transfusions. The rules below also
apply to transfusions.
a. The venipuncture should be started before or at the same time the blood
component is being obtained. This will allow the transfusion to begin immediately after
the blood component has arrived and minimize the risk of improper storage.
b. The administration set should be cleared of air before venipuncture.
Venipuncture can be performed with a needle attached to a syringe or attached directly
to the blood administration set.
c. Red blood cells or whole blood should be administered using a needle of 18
gauge or larger. Other blood products such as platelets, cryoprecipitate, fresh frozen
plasma, and albumin can be administered through smaller needles.
d. Warming of blood may be necessary if large amounts of blood are being
transfused at a rapid rate.
e. Identification of the blood product at time of transfusion requires:
(1) Check the ABO group and the Rh type on the label of the blood
container to be certain it agrees with the compatibility record (that portion of the patient's
hospital record that shows his blood type and other pertinent information).
(2) Check the number on the label of the blood container to be certain it
agrees with the compatibility record.
Check the blood compatibility record for the patient's name and hospital
(4) Check the name and hospital number on the patient's wrist identification
band against the information on the compatibility record.
When possible, ask the patient to identify himself by stating his name.
Never ask, "Are you Mr. ________?"
(6) The person who identifies that the correct blood product is being
administered to the patient should then sign the compatibility record, and that record
should be placed in the patient's chart at the completion of the transfusion. Do not
begin the transfusion until any discrepancies in the above information are resolved.