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Adverse Reaction to Donating Blood


goldberry
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DD donated blood at college for the first time.  She is not squeemish at all, no problem with shots, etc.  Everything was going fine until almost the end, when she started to feel like she had a headache.  The nurse noticed something enough to ask her if she was okay or needed to stop, and DD said, no I just got a headache.  Then everything started spinning, and DD kept hearing them say, "her pulse is dropping".  Turns out her pulse dropped to 46, she is normally 80 or so.  They pulled the line and it came up a little into the 50s.  DD was still dizzy and couldn't even open her eyes until several minutes later.  Her friend said her eyes rolled up and she went white as a sheet.

 

They gave her apple juice, etc, and kept her a really long time until her pulse returned to normal. Then advised her not to donate blood again.

 

What would cause this?  We've just been talking about her having a tonsillectomy next summer, but could this be related to anything we should know about?  Kind of worried.

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I don't know what causes it, but the same things happens to me, or at least it used to.  I'm generally not squeamish...  I think I just get light-headed very easily.  I really don't think it's a psychological thing for me; I think it's just how my body reacts to a quick change.

 

ETA:  A quick change in blood pressure, that is.

Edited by J-rap
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I used to give blood regularly, and once or twice I came close to passing out.  They take about an eighth of the blood out of you, you're going to feel different afterwards.  I did notice that I reacted worse if I actually looked at the blood during the process.  Not sure why, don't really care why, but I don't do that any more.  :P

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Same thing happened to me both times I ever tried to donate blood. They asked me politely not to come back because dealing with my reaction was a bigger pain than my blood was worth ;)

 

My normal blood pressure is definitely on the low side and it seems that giving blood makes it drop even lower. I've never had any other problems other than giving blood.

 

Sent from my Z988 using Tapatalk

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I'm banned from donating blood! My normal blood pressure is low, and after 3 episodes of fainting or near-fainting after blood donation, I was officially banned forever.

 

This in and of itself is nothing to worry about. Other family members have the same issue, and we just need to remember to hydrate, eat and sleep well in our everyday lives. Basic self-care, no biggie.

 

Honestly, it's a blessing to realize at college age that it's important to take care of yourself. Some people seriously do not learn that until their 50s or 60s! And there are great health benefits to low blood pressure. Just know that after any medical procedure, a longer recovery time lying down may be needed.  

 

Amy

 

 

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The same thing happens to me.  I don't donate any more after passing out so many times.  Passing out with a needle stuck in your arm is not fun, in case you were wondering.  I've flipped backwards in a folding metal chair at the snack table, jammed the needle in my arm and once had to lie on the floor of my office for an hour, and those are just the highlights.  The worst part is that if you pass out while giving blood, as opposed to immediately after, they throw your blood away, and you've wasted your time and blood.  I am not squeamish, either, but I do have (probably "had" by now) low blood pressure and a tendency to faint in other situations.  If she wants to try again, she should hydrate well and eat a big meal before she donates.  That helps, and I have successfully donated several times, but it is not, for me anyway, fool proof.

 

ETA:  I've never had surgery, but I've birthed two babies without any related complications.

 

Edited by plansrme
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I have donated successfully but I've also passed out after donating, at least twice. Once was at a school blood drive when I was a teacher and my department chair had to teach my 7th period class for me--that was embarrassing. And I know my blood pressure can be low. I haven't donated since having kids simply because I would need to allow for extended recovery time and I've never had the childcare available for that. Even when I don't pass out I stay flat on the table for awhile to recover slowly. I don't know if what happened to your dd is the same though. The low pulse seems different or more severe.

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The same thing happens to me. I don't donate any more after passing out so many times. Passing out with a needle stuck in your arm is not fun, in case you were wondering. I've flipped backwards in a folding metal chair at the snack table, jammed the needle in my arm and once had to lie on the floor of my office for an hour, and those are just the highlights. .

I'm so sorry! I have a tendency to pass out over shots or blood draws, so I just tell them in advance now. I feel so embarrassed every time though. It's never happened to DD though.

 

Still, I probably wouldn't think anything of it except for the pulse thing.

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Same thing happened to me both times I ever tried to donate blood. They asked me politely not to come back because dealing with my reaction was a bigger pain than my blood was worth ;)

 

My normal blood pressure is definitely on the low side and it seems that giving blood makes it drop even lower. I've never had any other problems other than giving blood.

 

Sent from my Z988 using Tapatalk

Same here.  Low-ish blood pressure.    I am not squeamish about needles.  I find watching surgeries fascinating. I get regular blood draws for various tests and don't have any issues.  For me, it is a drop in blood pressure.  Once I recover, I am usually somewhat "off" for about a week.  

 

For this reason, I haven't given blood in years.

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btdt when I was in high school.  I even ended up with someone driving me home after I recovered.

many things could cause that. anemia (a hematocrit doesn't catch all types, and it can be  minor).  dehydration.  electrolyte imbalance, etc.

 

eta: when laboring, I was usually ok if I had an IV.  one time, the nurses kept telling me "you don't need one yet".  (at least my chart *required* a hep-lock and I had one in.)  after delivery, my bp dropped to 60/40. (I was laying flat)  they ran everything in the lab - and finally decided I was dehydrated.  my only pain meds had been demerol.

 

last time, despite an IV, my bp dropped  after delivery again when I got up to use the toilet.  I fainted. I was barely aware of the nurse standing there waving smelling salts beneath my nose.  (I couldn't open my eyes.)  Multiple times.  since I'd respond by jerking, they didn't drag me out of there until I more fully regained consciousness.

Edited by gardenmom5
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The same thing happens to me when I get eye drops to test for glaucoma.  It's definitely not a squeamish thing.  I don't mind drops at all.  But it interrupts my blood pressure for a moment I suppose.  The last time I had the drops at the eye doctor, my pulse dropped so low, they couldn't even find it anymore.  I was somehow still conscious as I lay there on the floor, and could hear them running around and yelling down the hall for a doctor.  I didn't require any further treatment though and eventually just pulled out of it.  I can't explain it scientifically! 

 

ETA:  I don't get those drops anymore, btw.  It's on my file in big letters.  :) 

Edited by J-rap
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Low blood pressure, anemia and a cold (below 70degF) room would cause me to be dizzy during a blood draw and I had fainted while in hospital. When I know I have to do a blood draw, I layer up so I stay warm (>78degF).

 

My body temperature can’t drop too fast or I get dizzy. I usually have a windbreaker with me even in summer because the wind chill will still get to me.

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I was more worried about her pulse dropping than the passing out/light headedness. I do get squeamish, and when I do my pulse races, it doesn't slow down. I thought that was really low. I can't seem to place it logically why that would happen.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vasovagal-syncope/symptoms-causes/syc-20350527

It's a Vaso Vagal reaction. Pulse dropping is classic. You don' have to be squeamish, I'm not. But it still has happened. Oddly, it doesn't happen as much now as it did when I was young. Shots are fine, but giving blood is a no no for me. Like the others, I was banned from giving because they don't like you laying around in their chair for 45 minutes afterwards. I've tried eating a meal first, super hydrating, etc. Doesn't matter. 

 

My sister is the same, and for her it WAS an issue once....she was getting an IV for oral surgery and the pulse dropped so low they thought they had coded. But she gave birth and had two c-sections later as an adult with no issue. It's just something to tell your medical team. (actually, she did pass out during labor, due to low blood pressure after the epidural, come to think of it)

 

I've had surgery and such and been fine. 

Edited by ktgrok
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I am sorry that your DD had such a bad experience. God Bless her for Donating Blood. The first time I gave blood it was at work. I didn't feel too good, but nothing like what your DD experienced. After that, I always ate a big Breakfast, and then went to a local Blood Bank to donate. I never had a problem again...

 

Mention that experience, when you go for the appointment with the Anesthesiologist, before the scheduled surgery. 

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my sil's dh had that with the flu.  he fainted in a classified area. made it more complicated for getting outside medics to him.  his was formally diagnosed vaso vagel.  apparently, even after he got him to be in his own bed, he was still fainting.

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last time, despite an IV, my bp dropped  after delivery again when I got up to use the toilet.  I fainted. I was barely aware of the nurse standing there waving smelling salts beneath my nose.  (I couldn't open my eyes.)  Multiple times.  since I'd respond by jerking, they didn't drag me out of there until I more fully regained consciousness.

 

I had a bathroom conference after my first one--didn't pass out but came super, super close. The nurse came and sat on the floor, and we chatted like old pals. She was awesome. Second kiddo, I did pass out in the nursery, but I was hemorrhaging, and no one realized it yet (very delayed).

 

I find this getting worse as I age, but I vagal easily. I've not actually passed out too many times, but the other day when I got my totally non-painful and not at all bothersome flu shot, I felt my face get cold and then hot very fast. The slower version means I might end up on the floor! I sometimes have weird things like this happen when I have trouble getting earrings in or out of my ears (sometimes the pierced hole narrows over time for me). 

 

It's a pain. I suspect I have some mild sort of dysautonomia. I have a child that vagals easily too. He once passed out from a loud sound near his ear!

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The same thing happens to me when I get eye drops to test for glaucoma. It's definitely not a squeamish thing. I don't mind drops at all. But it interrupts my blood pressure for a moment I suppose. The last time I had the drops at the eye doctor, my pulse dropped so low, they couldn't even find it anymore. I was somehow still conscious as I lay there on the floor, and could hear them running around and yelling down the hall for a doctor. I didn't require any further treatment though and eventually just pulled out of it. I can't explain it scientifically!

 

ETA: I don't get those drops anymore, btw. It's on my file in big letters. :)

I've had weird reactions to the eye drops, too! I flush, overheat, and my heart rateincreases. My eye doctor has had patients pass out.

 

I have dysautonomia so my body does not regulate my heart rate and blood pressure very well, and I have been suspected of having low blood volume. I used to have to go into the ER for IV fluids to get regulated.

 

I'm really afraid I could have serious issues giving blood. Even if I got through the blood giving, I'd probably feel sick for weeks.

 

Or maybe I'm just a wimp.

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I've had weird reactions to the eye drops, too! I flush, overheat, and my heart rateincreases. My eye doctor has had patients pass out.

 

I have dysautonomia so my body does not regulate my heart rate and blood pressure very well, and I have been suspected of having low blood volume. I used to have to go into the ER for IV fluids to get regulated.

 

I'm really afraid I could have serious issues giving blood. Even if I got through the blood giving, I'd probably feel sick for weeks.

 

Or maybe I'm just a wimp.

 

The last time I gave blood I did get sick on the way home and was out of work for two days recovering.

 

I'm afraid I have not given blood since.

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This reaction happened to me one time, when I was in college. I spent the rest of the day in the medical clinic.

 

It has never happened to me in the 20 years since-- not during (routine) blood draws, not during medical procedures, not during pregnancy or childbirth. I don't even feel woozy after shots.

 

When it did happen, it was at a time in my life when I was stressed out, not sleeping a whole lot, and eating very poorly-- before it happened I had gone for hours without eating anything except high-sugar, low-protein foods. (And clearly suffering from delusions of youthful invincibility.)

 

Obviously some people are just generally prone to this reaction (hence them not wanting your daughter to donate blood again!), but I just wanted to offer my anecdote as another possibility. Keep an eye on this, make doctors aware of it before any medical procedures, but try not to worry. (Ha! We try.) Hope your daughter's experience will be like mine.

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Vaso vagal response, yep!  I get this, as does my brother and dad.  

 

If in the future she needs to give a few vials of blood for a medical reason, she should tell the nurse that she tends to pass out and have the blood drawn while lying down.  I had to do this for many, many years.  I can now do a standard medical blood draw (a few vials) seated, but I haven't tried donating blood because of it.  In a new doc's office, I always warn them I've had this response.  I think having my blood drawn every month for four pregnancies in a row helped my body to calm down about it all.  

 

It's not really related to squeamishness, although for me, I've got both.  :-D  It's worth knowing the response can be delayed as well.  I've passed out a couple times AFTER the blood draw, while standing at the front desk making a follow-up appointment.  LOL (I'm laughing at myself here, not your dd).  This is important to know because, really, the biggest risk here is head injury from the fall.  Once you're flat on the ground, your blood pressure/pulse should stabilize.  

 

 

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I don't know what causes it, but the same things happens to me, or at least it used to. I'm generally not squeamish... I think I just get light-headed very easily. I really don't think it's a psychological thing for me; I think it's just how my body reacts to a quick change.

 

ETA: A quick change in blood pressure, that is.

Yes, this is me too.

I used to donate when I was younger, but now I pass out.

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