Red blood cell transfusions are used to treat hemorrhage and to improve oxygen delivery to tissues. Transfusion of red blood cells should be based on the patient’s clinical condition. Indications for transfusion include symptomatic anemia (causing shortness of breath, dizziness, congestive heart failure, and decreased exercise tolerance), acute sickle cell crisis, and acute blood loss of more than 30 percent of blood volume. Fresh frozen plasma infusion can be used for reversal of anticoagulant effects. Platelet transfusion is indicated to prevent hemorrhage in patients with thrombocytopenia or platelet function defects. Cryoprecipitate is used in cases of hypofibrinogenemia, which most often occurs in the setting of massive hemorrhage or consumptive coagulopathy. Transfusion-related infections are less common than noninfectious complications. All noninfectious complications of transfusion are classified as noninfectious serious hazards of transfusion. Acute complications occur within minutes to 24 hours of the transfusion, whereas delayed complications may develop days, months, or even years later.
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