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The Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC

Allogeneic Transplant
Post-BMT Phase


Engraftment   Managing Low Platelet Counts
Managing Low White Cell Counts   Transfusions
Managing Low Red Cell Counts    


You may require blood (red cells) and/or platelet transfusions frequently during your treatment. With all transfusions there is the potential of having a transfusion reaction. Because of this, the blood product is irradiated and leuko-reduced (white cell reduced) to decrease the likelihood of a transfusion reaction. If you have had a transfusion reaction in the past, please inform your nurse or doctor. If at any time during or after a transfusion you feel warm or chilled, have shortness of breath, are dizzy, notice hives (bumps/welts on your skin similar to giant mosquito bites) or if your skin itches notify your nurse immediately.

Where does donated blood come from? Is it safe?

Whole blood is collected by Canadian Blood Services from volunteer donors. All potential donors are screened by a written questionnaire and interviewed by a nurse. The donated blood is processed into its separate parts and tested for:

  1. Hepatitis B
  2. Hepatitis C
  3. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV 1 and 2 - the AIDS viruses)
  4. Human T Cell Lymphotripic Virus 1 and 2
  5. Syphilis
  6. West Nile Virus (summer times)

If the blood is found to have any of these infections, it is disposed of and never used. Blood is never collected from this infected donor again. However, you need to be aware that blood can never be guaranteed to be 100% safe. Your doctor will discuss this further with you prior to your first transfusion. You will need to sign a blood product consent form before receiving any blood products.

Click here to read more about the blood transfusion procedure.

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