Red blood cell transfusions are especially significant to sickle cell patients because their red blood cells do not deliver oxygen as well as normal red blood cells do. Additionally, the cells may become sickle shaped and these block the flow of blood through the vessels.
Therefore blood transfusions become really necessary to help deliver oxygen to the body and unblock blood vessels. What blood transfusions really do cannot be overemphasized or overstated because for some, a blood transfusion may be a life saving measure like for my sister who has to undergo 'chronic' transfusions once a month.
There are many reasons why a SC patient will require blood transfusions and these include incidences of stroke (which my sister has suffered before), ACS and abnormal transcranial doppler ultrasound or TCD. Blood transfusions really do come with many benefits for sickle cell patients that help in no small way to improve their quality of life:
1. They make it possible for the circulation of normal red blood cells
2. They prevent blockage of flow in blood vessels
3. They decrease the need to produce new red blood cells
4. They allow more hemoglobin to better deliver oxygen to the body
In other words, complications from SCD can be prevented through blood transfusions and can also help against anemia.
Whenever my sister is getting her transfusions, she usually goes to the hospital 2 days ahead first just to get complete blood work done to check her hemoglobin and other levels, the amount of sickle shaped cells that have formed and to ascertain exactly how much 'new' blood she can receive. The process of transfusion takes between 2-4 hours after which she is kept under observation for another few extra hours to make sure she has no adverse reactions to the new blood. After the last transfusion she underwent this month, she developed a bit of a fever and so needed to remain in hospital until the fever went down before being discharged.
In next week's post, I will address some of the possible dangers of blood transfusions and how to deal with them. What blood transfusions really do for sickle cell patients is to make for even better disease management and to improve their quality of life. I know it has saved many lives and reduced the frequency of painful crises suffered.
Thanks for reading today's post as always and here's hoping you learned a thing or two from today's topic. Comments always welcome..
Always Love 💘