Transfusion medicine

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Transfusion medicine (or transfusiology) is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the transfusion of blood and blood components. The blood bank is the section of the clinical laboratory where medical technologists process and distribute blood products under the supervision of a medical director, often certified in Pathology or Transfusion Medicine. The blood donor center, also under the supervision of a physician who may be a Transfusion Medicine specialist, is the facility that collects and processes blood products. Transfusion medicine is a board-certified specialty recognized by the American Board of Pathology.[citation needed] Physicians from a wide range of backgrounds, including pathology, hematology, anesthesiology and pediatrics, are eligible for board certification in Transfusion Medicine following a 1-2 year fellowship.

Physicians certified in Transfusion Medicine are trained in blood product selection and management, immunohematology, apheresis, stem cell collection, cellular therapy, and coagulation. They are often considered a consultant for physicians who require expertise advice on the subjects listed above.

History[edit]

In 1628, English physician William Harvey discovered that blood circulates around the body. Soon thereafter, the first blood transfusion was attempted. In 1665 another English doctor Richard Lower successfully used blood transfusion between dogs to keep them alive.[1]

Karl Landsteiner is recognized as the father of transfusion medicine. Jan Janský is credited with the first classification of human blood into the four types (A, B, AB, O) of the ABO blood group system.

National differences and how to specialise[edit]

Denmark[edit]

In Denmark the subject is covered by the speciality "Clinical Immunology". Transfusiology is not a recognized term in the US.

UK[edit]

In the UK, transfusion medicine is a sub-speciality of haematology.

Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT) undertakes research into the effects of transfusion errors and aims to improve patient safety.[2] Its reports have led to wider training for medical staff in the UK and a central reporting scheme to allow errors to be reported.[3]

There is the Better Blood Continuing Education Programme, which is organised by the EUB which is part of the SNBTS. The EUB consists of many specialist healthcare professionals. The programme's aim is to improve transfusion medicine practise. The programme is reviewed each annually in January.[4]

In the UK there is a constant worry that a blood transfusion can lead to the transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Notes and references[edit]