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Pediatric Blood Transfusion

More than 2,700 patients receive blood transfusions each year at Children’s National Hospital and specialty care locations, including approximately 7,500 red blood cell(1), 2,000 plasma, 3,000 platelets(2), and 900 cryoprecipitate units.

The Blood Donor Center, located at the hospital, collects blood donations. Children’s National's nationally recognized pediatric transfusion medicine specialists then supervise the preparation of blood for transfusions.

Children who are transfused frequently, such as sickle cell disease patients, tend to develop antibodies(3) more often. This can make it very difficult to find compatible blood for the patient. Closely matching specific donor’s blood to the patient’s decreases the antibodies that frequently-transfused children develop.

Some patients’ families prefer to not receive a blood transfusion. Please speak with your doctor for guidance.  

Glossary of Terms

1 Red Blood Cell: A type of blood cell made in the bone marrow that carries oxygen to all parts of the body

2 Platelet: A component of the blood important in clotting. Inadequate amounts of platelets will lead to bleeding and bruising easily

3 Antibodies: Proteins produced by the body’s immune system which identify and help remove harmful substances or antigens such as viruses and bacteria

4 Leukemia: Any of a group of potentially fatal diseases involving uncontrolled growth of white blood cells. Leukemias are classified based upon rapidity of the course of the disease and the cell type affected

5 White Blood Cell: Also called a “leukocyte;” a type of blood cell produced by the bone marrow to help fight infection

6 Bone Marrow: The spongy center of bones that is the “factory” for all blood cells in circulation

7 Chemotherapy: Treatment for cancer using chemical substances designed to kill cancer cells. It is used in large doses to help destroy a patient’s diseased marrow in preparation for a marrow transplant

8 Harvesting: The procedure performed under anesthesia to remove bone marrow from the patient or a donor (bone marrow harvest); or the procedure to remove peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC harvest or pheresis)

9 Anemia: A decreased number or insufficient function of red blood cells which causes fatigue and paleness

View full glossary
Children's Team

Children's Team


Meghan Delaney

Meghan Delaney

Division Chief, Pathology and Lab Medicine
Director, Transfusion Medicine
Dr. Cyril Jacquot

Cyril Jacquot

Director, Hematology and Coagulation Laboratory
Associate Director, Transfusion Medicine
Yunchuan Mo

Yunchuan Mo

Director, Laboratory Support Services
Associate Director, Transfusion Medicine
Jennifer Webb

Jennifer Webb

Director, Therapeutic Apheresis Program


Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Whether your child needs a simple blood test or more advanced laboratory procedure, we understand it can be a frightening experience for a child and difficult for parents.

Blood and Marrow Transplant

Our blood and bone marrow disease experts provide advanced transplant procedures for children and teenagers.

Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program

The Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program at Children’s National is among the largest and most comprehensive pediatric sickle cell disease programs in the country.