Transfusion Reactions and Adverse Events

Clin Lab Med. 2021 Dec;41(4):669-696. doi: 10.1016/j.cll.2021.07.009. Epub 2021 Sep 29.


Blood transfusions are generally safe but can carry considerable risks. This review summarizes the different types of transfusion reactions and ways to diagnose and manage them. Symptoms are often overlapping and nonspecific. When a reaction is suspected, it is critical to stop the transfusion immediately and report the reaction to the blood bank, as this can affect the patient's outcome. New evidence-based algorithms of transfusion, newer blood screening methods and donor policies and deferrals, new laboratory testing, electronic verification systems, and improved hemovigilance lead to the avoidance of unnecessary transfusions and decrease the incidence of serious transfusion reactions.

Keywords: Acute transfusion reactions; Adverse blood reactions; Blood safety; Complications of blood transfusion; Delayed transfusion reactions; Transfusion-transmitted infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Banks
  • Blood Safety
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Humans
  • Transfusion Reaction*