Recent Advances in Transfusion Medicine


  • NKD Halim Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria


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Blood transfusion is the transfer of blood, its components, or products from one person (donor) into another person’s bloodstream (recipient).The earliest known attempted blood transfusion was in the year 1626, while Karl Landsteiner an Austrian Physician discovered the three major blood groups A, B, O in 1900, subsequently in 1902, the AB, blood group was elucidated.Since the early twentieth century, up till the present time, there have been significant developments, innovations and milestones in the practice of blood transfusion, notably the identification of the Hepatitis B, C and the HIV -1 and 2 viruses, and the formulation of mandatory screening tests for all blood donors. Tests such as blood grouping, antibody titre, Human leukocyte antigen (HLA), and polymerase chain reaction technique are now done in the Blood banks, to improve the safety of blood for transfusion. This has also led to a marked reduction in the incidence of transfusion transmissible infections based on more elaborate blood donor intake criteria developed in the eighties.Newer technologies such as the Apheresis machine have enabled the use of blood component therapy such as Platelet concentrates and granulocyte transfusions in specific cases based on certain criteria. Haemopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), can also be obtained by new techniques for stem cell transplantation. Umbilical cord blood is also used as a source of HPCs. It is also possible to filtrate or radiate white blood cells from whole blood used for transfusions, to eliminate transfusion- related lung injuries.The recent advances in Blood Transfusion Medicine, has been key in ensuring that blood for transfusion is made safe for the recipients. Transfusion Medicine has improved based on lessons learnt from the past