Transfusion medicine

Recent Updates

Modified on: 
Jul 28, 2021 repository aims to support Canadian transfusion medicine health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated regularly as new information is available. In addition, the public and donors can learn more about how Canadian Blood Services is responding to COVID-19 by visiting

Apr 13, 2021
Chapter 6

All blood transfused in Canada is collected from volunteer donors. To ensure the safety of blood components, donors are carefully screened. In addition, the donated blood is tested to identify blood group, blood group antibodies and transfusion-transmissible pathogens. Donor eligibility criteria and testing also benefit the donors by reducing potential blood donation-related health risks.

This chapter describes the donor selection process, the testing done on donated blood, and the pathogen inactivation processes that can further reduce risk of transfusion-transmitted diseases. This chapter is complemented by Chapter 7, Fractionated Blood products and Associated Pathogen Safety, and Chapter 8, Pre-transfusion Testing, of this Guide.

Modified on: 
Jul 20, 2021

Key Points

  • Severe allergic or anaphylactic reactions are reported in 1.2 to 5.9 per 100,000 components transfused. The most recent Canadian Blood Services surveillance data on allergic reactions is available in the annual surveillance report.
  • There are various mechanisms that can lead to anaphylactic or severe allergic reactions, and some may not be preventable despite product modification.
  • Even in the presence of low anti-IgA level and anti-IgA antibodies, risk of anaphylactic transfusion is low.
  • Anti-IgA testing is only recommended in selected individuals with history of one anaphylactic transfusion reaction or two severe allergic transfusion reactions.
  • The form for ordering anti-IgA testing can be found on the Canadian Blood Services website.
  • Instructions and guidance on how to report adverse transfusion reactions can be found in this guide on the Canadian Blood Services Professional Education website.

Upcoming Events

October 16, 2021 | 8:00AM to October 19, 2021 | 5:00PM

Virtual Conference

The AABB Annual Meeting is the must-attend event to learn about cutting-edge research, keep up with the latest technological advances and network with like-minded professionals from throughout the world.

The AABB Annual Meeting brings together the latest research and practice-changing resources for the fields of blood and biotherapies. Colleagues from throughout the world will come together to connect, network, learn and advance the field.

Click here for additional information.



Modified on: 
Mar 10, 2021

The Centre for Innovation is delighted to announce the winners of the 2020-2021 Canadian Blood Services Lay Science Writing Competition. Read on to find out who won!


Modified on: 
Mar 3, 2021

You may be aware that there’s no deferral for blood donors after they receive a vaccine against COVID-19. But you might be wondering how the blood operators made this decision. Canadian Blood Services' medical director for donor and clinical services, Dr. Mindy Goldman, answers questions.


Modified on: 
Feb 17, 2021

A study conducted by researchers in the University of Toronto QUEST program, a research collaborative supported by Canadian Blood Services, looked at what can be done to reduce the number of inappropriate red blood cell transfusions in hospitals.