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Blood Transfusion in the arm where lymph nodes were removed for masectomy

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2012


My mom is 9 1/2 years removed from a masectomy and last year was diagnosed with APL leukemia, she requires frequent transufions and she just recently got a transfusion for the first time in the arm where she had lymph nodes removed for her masectomy, which is her laeft arm; they could not find a usable vein in her right arm. i know about the restriction with blood pressure, blood draws, etc with this but i am looking for information on a blood transfusion. please assist, thanks Lisa

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

many of us lateral, or bilateral ladies are instructed 'NO' blood pressure, or
blood drawls on our arms.

I would think it would be the same for blood transfusions .. However, I am not
a doctor --- so I would encourage you to contact mom's Oncology or Breast Cancer
Specialist -- to confirm -- As soon as possible.


The issue is not the mastectomy itself, but the lymph node dissection. When lymph nodes are removed, there exists the potential of decreasing the body's ability to drain fluid from the arm, armpit and chest. For the vast majority of people, the remaining lymph nodes and veins can handle the removal of fluid without difficulty. However, for some, the lymphatic system can become overloaded, resulting in swelling.

Lymphedema (swelling caused by back-up of lymph fluid) can occur anytime after lymph node dissection (LND). Therefore, anyone receiving a LND should understand and follow lymphedema precautions, which include avoiding any trauma to the arm. Trauma can include blood pressures, IV's, sunburn or cuts.

Best of luck,

Vicki Sam

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I was told no needles unless it is a life or death situation. I would assume a blood transfusion would take priority over the possibility of lymphedema. Although after onset there is no cure for LE, and it has to be managed daily. The severity of LE can wax and wane from day to day and week to week.

Since your Mom needs many transfusions, has she considered a port? That might be worth talking to the doctor about as well. Or can they do the transfusion using a vein in her leg or foot?

Please come back and let us know how she's doing.



Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

I have also been told no needles, no blood pressure taken, nothing in my arm. I am wondering the same thing about her having a port or using a vein elsewhere. Praying she will be ok.


smalldoggroomer's picture
Posts: 1181
Joined: May 2010

I was told by the nurse at my Dr office that you can draw blood. What you can't do is any kind of restriction on the arm. Blood pressure or tourniquets to draw blood. I don't know if this is true but I see my Dr tomorrow I'll ask. My prayers are with you.
Take care Kay,

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I was told only in an emergency! Pre surgeries I am stabbed so many times-can't find vein for IV...they keep trying until finally get one. I tell everyone right arm only (slim pickings yet they say can we use other arm?????????) I said NO...

but if absolutly MUST do for transferssion what else can they do. MY MOM had PICC line (spell ?) surgericall put in for most blood draws and I THOUGHT tranfussions (but could be wrong) she had them all the time for platlet issues..

I hope you get info needed


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