Transfusion medicine is the branch of medicine that encompasses all aspects of the transfusion of blood and blood components including aspects related to hemovigilance. It includes issues of blood donation, immunohematology and other laboratory testing for transfusion-transmitted diseases, management and monitoring of clinical transfusion practices, patient blood management, therapeutic apheresis, stem cell collections, cellular therapy, and coagulation.
The blood donor centre is the facility that collects blood components from screened blood donors, either whole blood or separate components such as plasma or platelets only via apheresis. These blood components are then transported to a central location for processing such as fractionation, testing and redistribution. The testing includes determining blood type and testing for infectious diseases. Whole blood is fractionated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma whilst plasma can be further refined into separate components such as albumin, clotting factor concentrates and immunoglobulin.
In most countries, Immunohematology and Transfusion Medicine specialists provide expert opinion on massive transfusions, difficult/incompatible transfusions and rational use of specialised blood product therapy like irradiated blood/ leukodepleted/washed blood products.