Fainting blood donor ?

Nurses General Nursing

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LisaRN2B

366 Posts

Originally posted by LilgirlRN

Can be very scary for those watching this happen to you.

Yes, it sure can be!

My step-daughter, 15, recently had her tonsils removed. About 60 seconds after the nurse put in her IV she looked as if she was having a seizure.

The 2 nurses in the room both said at the same time, "Vagal!!" I hadn't even covered vaso-vagal responses in A&P yet, and had never seen this in real life before.

Scared the life out of her dad and me, to say the least. :eek:

The nurses were very good about explaining what had just happened and eased our fears.

I think if it were me, I would probably find another way to contribute other than giving blood if I were prone to vagal. JMO

mario_ragucci

1,041 Posts

The first time I donated blood, at age 16 I fainted after about 2 minutes. At 18 i tried again and fainted again. It was a neat feeling, like these trumpets start to blow a really soft tune and you drift away. The nurse at that time said I don't give blood easily. The third and final time I tried was in Okinawa as a Marine at 20yo. The Marine Corps gives you half a day off if you give, so we all gave. That time I woke up to the nurse smacking my face, and she said I turnt really pale with white lips :-( I never paniced, and want to give.

Perhaps there is an instinct mechanism within you that is hard wired to put you in the fight or flight mode when you are loosing blood, and you can't over-ride it. Thats a good thing, because if your bleeding, you want to be able to react. But the mechanism is so hard wired in me that even knowing it won't hurt me can not shut it off.

Even when a lab is drawn on me I notice a very uneasy feeling come on. Just loosing a tube of blood will do it. I think the sight and recognition of life leaving me, even in a controled situation, won't be accepted by my body.

It's not a bad thing, and don't try to figure it out. Thats your physical self talking loud and clear. I am so happy others can give, or my life may be lost if I ever needed blood.

If I had to one day make an autologous donation i would, and then I'd like to see what happens to me. I guess my blood pressure would drop as i fainted, but I could insist the blood continue to flow. Do you think a healthy person would die if you kept bleeding them after they fainted?

kids

1 Article; 2,334 Posts

Originally posted by Mimi2RN

My 6' 2'', 195lb son passed out cold after he donated the last time. They said he seized, but I'm not sure about that. Anyway, they told him never to donate again!

Many people look like they are having a seizure when they vasovagal.

My son's girlfriend did it when she got her tongue pierced, I just happened to have a handy ammo-cap in my purse :)

Rapheal

814 Posts

I used to faint at the sight of blood!!!!! Now blood doesn't bother me (in less it is my kids or my own, lol). But I don't give blood. I am afraid that if I faint the whole process of being squeamish around blood will start again.

Specializes in Home Health Care.

Thank you all for your response's! I haven't taken A& P yet, (next semester) It will make studying about the vagal easier :)

I'm going to wait a while before I try donating again. And I'll follow all of your advice about, breathing, staying hydrated and eating when I do decide to go for my third try.

It's funny that I gave natural child-birth 3x,( not even with a tylenol) but I can't handle giving blood :chuckle:

Come to think about it, last summer I cut my finger pretty bad, and I felt the spell comming on.... the room started getting fuzzy, and ringing in my ears. I just made it to my recliner with a glass of water and was able to recover.

Is there a way to "train yourself" out of a vagal response ?

Anyway, thanks for all your helpful advice and hope you all had a great Thanks-giving day!

Specializes in Home Health Care.
Originally posted by mario_ragucci

Perhaps there is an instinct mechanism within you that is hard wired to put you in the fight or flight mode when you are loosing blood, and you can't over-ride it. Thats a good thing, because if your bleeding, you want to be able to react. But the mechanism is so hard wired in me that even knowing it won't hurt me can not shut it off.

If I had to one day make an autologous donation i would, and then I'd like to see what happens to me. I guess my blood pressure would drop as i fainted, but I could insist the blood continue to flow. Do you think a healthy person would die if you kept bleeding them after they fainted?

You got me really thinking about this! Thanks for your reply ;)

bettyboop

403 Posts

thought i was the only one:)

yrs ago before becomming a nurse i went for a simple blood test just before i went in a so called frien of mine said "the needle snapped in her sisters hand" i went in the Dr was unable to get blood first time:rolleyes: and after 4 more attempts, bang out i went, what a horrile feeling. Since then i have fainted on so many occasions i avoid blood tests at all costs. Injections don't bother me nor does the sight of my own blood so why does this happen:confused:

At my work it is taken as a joke but it has consequences during pregnancy i had the usual blood test and promptly blacked out, my husband was terrified because the midwifes and Drs noted that i had a seizure my husband confirmed the fact that what he saw didn't look like a faint. My sister is epiletic and they began tests fortunatly they advised me that it was proberbly a one of. Needless to say i began to go against medical advice and refuse everytning that involved a blood test, luckilly my daughter was OK and so was the second. This is a genuine fear of mine also it is humiliating. I have refused injections adamantly because at the end of the course it requires a blood test.

I have tried everything slow deep breathing, diversion tatics self bribery you name it, nothing works, everyone were i work knows of my "funny do's" at blood tests which doesn't help. Some clinicians have even refused to take blood because of the fainting.

I have adamantly refused Hep B (not compulsery were i work) etc because of the blood test, stupid i know.

My family and I are in the proces of moving to the US and I note schools hospitals etc have compulsary immunizations:eek: and this is the nighmare situation i find myself in:o

Please i am desperate do any of u have a suggestion or has anyone been in this situation and has now over come this hurdle

let me know

Bettyboop

mario_ragucci

1,041 Posts

I'm glad to talk about giving blood. I often wonder, because my blood brother and biological father both give/gave blood like big dogs. Leads me to believe it's not genetic, but a specific gene that controls a part of the brain dealing with optic and volume information from reality.

My brother even gives pheresis, and me not even able to give at all without making a scene. :-( (shame)

I would like to try to give pheresis, but I am doubtful about that because I couldn't lie to myself that my blood would not be manipulated. The body wouldn't go for any breaks :-)

I think of it like this...there is circuitry that determines and interprets visual information and sensory information (duh)

In most people, they have an 8-lead line about blood loss and can over-ride going into shock over sensible blood loss. Others are born with dedicated 2-lead lines which can only put you into shock/ fight or flight mode when you loose any blood, under any circumstance, amen.

crzcarr10

2 Posts

I fainted my first time trying to donate as well. But I also went into it knowing I have a phobia of needles. Take my advice, don't give blood to trying and get over your fear. I think donating makes you more anxious than you think. Maybe it's the environment, maybe it's the sight of your own blood, probably the anxiety of being stuck as well. I'm just trying to find a way of how to properly get over my fear of needles. It's not the blood that gets me, I get hurt all the time at work( I work at a vet clinic) it's the thought of needles going into me. Also, I can give injections, do blood draws (on animals), but when I'm on the receiving end of it, it's a whole different ball game. Good luck.

MomRN0913

1,131 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

I fainted a few hours after donating. It's my own stupid fault, i was a bride to be on the Atkins diet refusing to cheat. So I only ate bacon before and refused the cookies and juice! Yeah, that didn't fair well for me... and I did this as a nursing student, you would think I would know better!

Make sure your are eating well before and after.....

But I am imaging you might be holding your breath and vagaling (is that even a word?)

xtxrn, ASN, RN

4,266 Posts

Hope the OP got the answers since 2003 :D

Yeah....used to draw labs on IV drug users....had a few of them (who could dig on themselves with no problem whatsoever) head south. :lol2:

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