Adverse events

Transfusion while beneficial can also present potential risks for a patient.

Adverse transfusion reactions are when patients experience an undesirable response associated with transfusion of blood or blood products.

Causes of adverse transfusion events can be related to the patient, the component or the procedure.

Serious adverse reactions can occur during or after a transfusion, however, it’s important to note that they are uncommon and reactions are usually mild.
Fever, chills and urticaria are the most common symptoms of adverse reactions.

Potentially significant and life-threatening reactions include acute and delayed haemolytic transfusion reactions, transfusion-transmitted bacterial infection (TTBI), anaphylaxis and transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). 
The classification and incidence of adverse transfusion events provides an overview of the underlying mechanism and frequency of reaction.

Recognising adverse events is essential for a successful patient outcome. Management of suspected reactions requires a series of steps commencing with stopping the transfusion immediately.

Monitoring and reporting of adverse transfusion events is a component of haemovigilance and essential for patient safety.