Reasons for a transfusion

There are many medical conditions or problems that might require different types of transfusion such as red cells, platelets and plasma. Some of the reasons a transfusion might be required include cancer, operations, blood problems, pregnancy and childbirth.


Cancer can result in the need for a transfusion for a number of reasons including surgery, side effects of chemotherapy and as a result of the cancer itself.


You may need a red cell transfusion if you have lost a large amount of blood before or during surgery. A transfusion of platelets, plasma or clotting factors may be needed if any of these components are low or not working properly.



Anaemia is a medical term for low red blood cell count or haemoglobin and often results in a lack of oxygen to the cells. Anaemia can be caused by many medical conditions. Transfusion of red cells may be required if anaemia becomes severe.

Iron deficiency

Iron is a mineral nutrient that is essential for your body to function normally and to make haemoglobin (Hb). The treatment of iron deficiency is iron replacement therapy. Transfusion is rarely required.

Bleeding disorder

Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions where blood cannot clot properly. Transfusion of platelets or plasma products may be required to assist with clotting. Red cells may also be required if blood loss is severe.

Pregnancy & childbirth

There are several situations that may occur during or immediately after pregnancy and require treatment with blood products including anaemia, bleeding, prevention of haemolytic disease of the newborn and immune platelet disorders.