Sometimes a red blood cell product may be seen to be infusing slower than desired. Certain steps can be taken to try to improve the rate of the transfusion.
(1) The patency of the needle. Consider repositioning the needle if experienced. Make sure the site has not infiltrated.
(2) The blood infusion set and filter for blood clots.
(3) The infusion line for kinks or twists.
If the bag has been placed low, elevate the bag to a height at least 3 feet above the patient's heart.
If the patient is able to handle extra fluid and sodium chloride (does not have heart failure or fluid overload) then mix the red blood cells with a small amount of normal saline to make the blood product less viscous.
Remember that the infusion needs to be completed within 4 hours of release from the Blood Bank.
If a patient has a chronic problem with slow transfusions, splitting the units may help.
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Specialty: Clinical Laboratory