Blood transfusion

As part of your chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment, you might be advised that you need a blood transfusion. This is when you’re given blood from someone else.

You could also need a blood product transfusion, where you just receive red blood cells or platelets.

What happens during a blood products transfusion?

Before you visit The Christie for a blood products transfusion, we will give you the date and time of your transfusion, as well as the clinical area where it will take place.

On the day of your transfusion, you should book in at the clinical area you were told to attend.

Platelets transfusions typically take between 20 and 30 minutes. Red blood cell transfusions usually take around 3.5 hours.

Relatives and friends usually can’t sit with you during your blood product transfusion. This is because the clinical areas are only for patients. However, please check with your practitioner beforehand, as some units will allow you to bring a relative or friend.

Having a transfusion carries a very small risk of developing side effects. The nurse administering your transfusion will monitor you throughout to check that you are well and have not developed any side effects.

You can read more about transfusions in our patient booklet on receiving a transfusion.

This video, produced by The Christie and NHS Blood and Transplant, also gives an overview of blood product transfusions.