Blood transfusion, printed
Blood Transfusion


The present section on Blood transfusion deals with actual and general state of art in transfusion medicine, but it is important to keep in mind that the laws, rules and practices can be rather different from one country to another.

It has been subdivided in 4 themes that are accessible through the links in the side bar (see the ? to read more).

Blood transfusion consists of administration of blood, or more frequently of its diverse cellular or plasmatic components to patients. Transfusions are performed to replace a substantial loss of blood or as supportive treatment in several diseases and blood disorders. Blood transfusion has been somehow the first transplantation to save life and has been routinely performed for many decades.
Quality control all along the transfusion chain ranging from the collection of blood from the donor to the administration to the recipient has been one of the major challenges in transfusion medicine for the past 10 years.

Recipient and transplantation

This section describes the different steps of the patient's blood transfusion, from the prescription to transfusion. Read more...

Donated blood and compatibility

This section describes the different the different techniques used get transfusable components. Donated blood is subject to several tests essentially to detect transmissible infectious agents and to determine blood group types. Read more...

Transplantation barriers

Human erythrocytes do not express HLA class I or II antigens, so the immunogenetic barrier to red cells transfusion consists of structural differences in carbohydrates moieties or non HLA-proteins polymorphism. The major antigenic differences are at the basis of the established blood groups systems or other antigens potentially recognized by antibodies circulating in the plasma. Read more...

Blood platelets carry HLA class I and other specific antigens. Immunization to such platelets antigens in patients receiving repeated platelet transfusions can cause transfusion reactions and/or inefficacy.


Immunosuppressive therapy is not necessary for blood transfusion. T cells in a transfusion may cause graft-versus-host reactions in severely immunosuppressed patients (immunodeficiencies, cancer treatments, premature babies < 32 weeks of gestation). Therefore, blood components are currently irradiated before being transfused.

Transfusion risks and hemovigilance policy

This section is on the different risks linked to blood transfusions. These risks are either immune-related reactions, non-immune reactions or infections. These risk are almost negligible since the advent of strict hemovigilance schemes and transfusions are currently considered to be a very safe therapy. Read more...