Exchange Transfusion

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An exchange transfusion is a medical procedure where a patients blood is removed via a catheter and replaced with an IV transfusion of plasma or donor blood. It is used to save the life of an adult or child with fatal blood abnormalities. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the procedure in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

An exchange transfusion is a potentially life-saving procedure that is done to counteract the effects of serious jaundice or changes in the blood due to diseases such as sickle cell anemia.

The procedure involves slowly removing the patients blood and replacing it with fresh donor blood or plasma.

The blood is slowly withdrawn in one needle and gradually replaced with the new blood in a different needle. This blood exchange is done in small increments so as not to upset the normal balance of blood and blood chemistry.

Other diseases in which an exchange transfusion may be useful include:

Sickle cell anemia crisis, where the sickled blood cells get trapped in small arteries

Newborn plethora or polycythemia, where too many red blood cells cause the blood to be thick and not circulate

Hemolytic anemia of the newborn, or Rh disease

Severe disturbances in blood chemistry, and

Toxic effects of certain drugs

This procedure is performed in specialized centers overseen by physicians and nurses with special expertise.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.