The purpose of this document is to provide clear guidance on the recognition, investigation and management of acute adverse reactions to blood components. It is clinically focused and recognised that the precise nature of reactions may not be apparent at presentation. The emphasis is on the immediate management of potentially life-threatening reactions, but it also makes recommendations around appropriate investigation and prophylactic strategies. The key objectives are to:
  1. Provide a flow diagram to aid recognition of acute transfusion reactions (ATRs) and their immediate clinical management;
  2. Advise on further management of the patient during the reaction;
  3. Provide advice on investigations;
  4. Discuss management of subsequent transfusions;
  5. Present recommendations for reporting adverse reactions to UK haemovigilance organisations, to blood services and within the hospital.

The guideline does not cover the detailed medical management of ATRs such as treatment of cardiac/respiratory failure or bacterial sepsis.

Acute Transfusion Reactions Podcast

Declaration of Interests

All authors have made a full declaration of interest to the BSH and Task Force Chairs, which may be viewed on request. None of the authors have any relevant conflicts of interest to declare.