Transfusion reactions are adverse events associated with the transfusion of whole blood or one of its components. They range in severity from minor to life-threatening and can occur during a transfusion, termed acute transfusion reactions, or days to weeks later, termed delayed transfusion reactions. Transfusion reactions may be difficult to diagnose as they can present with non-specific, often overlapping symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms include fever, chills, urticaria, and itching. Some symptoms may resolve with little or no treatment. However, respiratory distress, high fever, hypotension, and hemoglobinuria may indicate a more serious reaction. All cases of suspected reactions should prompt immediate discontinuation of the transfusion and notification of the blood bank and treating clinician.

In this podcast episode you will learn the evaluation and management of transfusion reactions and highlights the role of interprofessional team members in collaborating to provide well-coordinated care and enhance outcomes for affected patients.

This educational podcast activity is brought to you by QuidelOrtho Corporation., and is not certified for continuing medical education. QuidelOrtho Corporation sponsors the program, and the speaker must present information following applicable FDA requirements.

About our Speaker: 

Dr. Aaron Tobian


Dr. Aaron Tobian received his medical degrees from Case Western Reserve University. He is highly involved with the transfusion medicine community serving on the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies' Board of Directors and is president-elect of the board. Dr. Tobian has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed articles in journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Blood, and TRANSFUSION, and has been featured on BBC World Service, Today Show, National Public Radio, and USA Today. He is board certified in clinical pathology and blood banking/transfusion medicine and divides his time between research and clinical service.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review what is a febrile transfusion reaction from a transfusionist’s perspective
  • Review the type of workup is performed to evaluate a febrile transfusion reaction
  • Discuss what can be done to reduce from the patient management perspective