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Many prescribers of transfusion now consider blood very safe for patients. Whilst it is impossible to provide a product for transfusion that is risk-free, all blood transfusion services follow a number of strategies aimed at minimizing risks associated with the transfusion of their product. Testing of blood donations focuses on two key areas: red cell serology (blood grouping) and microbiological screening. As these procedures for testing are typically applied to hundreds or thousands of donations in a day, operational and quality control issues are key to providing sufficient product 'guarantees'. Blood grouping ensures that the risk of haemolysis due to immunological incompatibility is minimized. Similarly microbiological screening also ensures that the risk of transmissible infection is minimized. A number of steps apply to reduce risks of transfusion transmission of infection, including the application of donor selection criteria to defer individuals considered at higher risk of infection and screening tests to identify known pathogens. Policies need to be in place to notify and counsel donors with repeat (or confirmed) positive test results. The perceived current safety of blood for transfusion is a testament to the ongoing rigour of donor screening and blood donation testing. This edition first published 2013 © 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Original publication





Book title

Practical Transfusion Medicine

Publication Date



201 - 208