The history of blood transfusion prior to the 20th century--part 1

Transfus Med. 2012 Oct;22(5):308-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.2012.01180.x.


Blood transfusion, that is the transference of blood from the circulation of one individual to that of another for practical therapeutic purposes, is of relatively recent origin. Although it only became a routine practical possibility during and shortly after the Second World War, the concept of the infusion of blood has a much longer history. Practical transfusion has to some degree paralleled and in many instances been the consequence of developments in other sciences. However, the early history of blood transfusion is to some extent one of mysticism, professional rivalries, disregard of published work and a desire to maintain the status quo with regard to 'established medical procedure'. This article summarises some of the major aspects relating to the early history of blood transfusion.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Transfusion / history*
  • Blood Transfusion / methods
  • History, 15th Century
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans