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Transfusion Reactions (Online CE Course)

(based on 1,001 customer ratings)

Author: Erin Tretter, MT(ASCP)
Reviewer: Barbara Cebulski, MS, MLS(ASCP)

What are the risks associated with blood transfusion? As a laboratory professional involved in blood preparation for transfusion, do you know what steps you can take to minimize those risks? If a patient starts to exhibit various symptoms during or after a transfusion, would you know how to interpret those symptoms and what actions to take to prevent harm to the patient? These are all important questions that are asked and answered by our new course, Transfusion Reactions. This course covers important types of transfusion reactions, including acute hemolytic transfusion reactions, transfusion-related acute lung injury, and transfusion-associated graft versus host disease. If you are a part of the health care team that is involved in the processing and administration of blood products, this course will reinforce those policies and procedures that you may already know, but are important to review. This course will update your knowledge about the various types of reactions that occur and their associated symptoms. Even though you may not be involved in the clinical part of the transfusion process, it is important to understand the big picture to recognize how important your job is to ensure patient transfusion safety.

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Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1.5 hour(s)
Course number 578-097-16, approved through 4/30/2018
Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel Credit Hours - General (Blood Banking / Immunohematology): 1.5 hour(s)
Course number 20-547963, approved through 9/1/2018


  • Define transfusion reaction.
  • Identify the risks of transfusions.
  • Compare and contrast immediate hemolytic transfusion reactions and delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions.
  • List and define the types of nonhemolytic transfusion reactions.
  • List the laboratory findings associated with hemolytic and nonhemolytic transfusion reactions.
  • Discuss the definition, pathophysiology, signs, symptoms, therapies, prevention, and clinical work-up of hemolytic and nonhemolytic transfusion reactions.
  • List the antibodies associated with hemolytic transfusion reactions.
  • List the steps and procedures to follow in a laboratory investigation of a transfusion reaction.

Customer Ratings

(based on 1,001 customer ratings)

Course Outline

Click on the links below to preview selected pages from this course.
  • Adverse Effects of Blood Transfusions
      • Transfusion Reactions: Introduction
  • Blood Component Transfusion Risks
      • Risks Associated with Transfusion
      • Categories of Transfusion Reactions
  • Acute Immunologic Transfusion Reactions
      • In Vivo Red Cell Destruction
    • Acute Hemolytic Transfusion Reactions
    • Febrile Transfusion Reactions
    • Allergic Transfusion Reaction
      • Definition, Manifestations, and Prevalence of Allergic Reactions Related to Transfusion
      • Pathophysiology
      • Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
      • A febrile nonhemolytic transfusion reaction (FNHTR) is characterized by which of the following symptoms?
      • Premedication with antihistamines may prevent an allergic reaction in patients with a history of multiple urticarial transfusion reactions.
    • Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI)
  • Acute Nonimmunologic Transfusion Reactions
    • Bacterial Contamination
      • Presentation and Prevalence of Bacterial Contamination
      • Bacteria Implicated in Contamination
      • Sources of Contamination
      • Reducing Transfusion-Associated Septic Reactions
      • Which type of blood component is MOST often implicated in bacterial contamination?
    • Circulatory Overload
    • Physical/Chemical Hemolysis
      • Acute Pain and Hypotensive Reactions
  • Summary of Additional Testing in Acute (Immediate) Transfusion Reaction Investigations
      • Table: Additional Testing That May Be Ordered for Acute (Immediate) Transfusion Reaction Investigations
  • Delayed Immunologic Transfusion Reactions
    • Delayed Hemolytic Transfusion Reactions
      • Delayed Hemolytic Transfusion Reaction (DHTR)
      • DHTR: Diagnosis
      • Severe DHTR and Sickle Cell Anemia
      • Delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions (DHTR) typically occur 3 hours after transfusion.
    • Transfusion-Associated Graft-Versus-Host Disease (TA-GVHD)
      • Transfusion-Associated Graft-Versus-Host Disease (TA-GVHD): Definition and Incidence
      • Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis
      • Therapy and Prevention
    • Post-Transfusion Purpura (PTP)
      • Definition/Manifestation/Prevalence
      • Pathophysiology, Treatment, and Prevention of Post-Transfusion Purpura (PTP)
      • Which of the following patients are at risk for transfusion-associated graft versus host disease (TA-GVHD) and require irradiated cellular blood produ...
      • Post-transfusion purpura (PTP) is characterized by which of the following?
  • Delayed NonImmunologic Transfusion Reactions
  • Investigation of a Delayed Transfusion Reaction
  • Reporting Transfusion Reactions
      • Recording and Reporting Transfusion Reactions
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Intermediate
Intended audience: Medical laboratory scientists, medical technologists, and technicians, This course is also appropriate for clinical laboratory science students and pathology residents.
Author information: Erin Tretter, MT(ASCP), is currently the Point of Care Coordinator and Lead Medical Technologist at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her BS in Medical Technology from California University of Pennsylvania and has experience as a Generalist, including Blood Bank, Hematology and Chemistry. Erin is the Blood Bank Clinical Instructor for the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at St. Christopher’s and has four years experience teaching immunohematology concepts and laboratory procedures to Medical Technology students. She has also provided blood bank training for laboratory technologists and medical students. Erin is currently obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology where she is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor’s Society.
Reviewer information: Barbara Cebulski, MS, MLS(ASCP) has over 40 years of experience in the medical laboratory profession as a technologist, section supervisor, and laboratory manager. She was an Inspection and Technical Specialist for nine years with the College of American Pathologists in the Laboratory Accreditation Program and, until her retirement in 2015, was Program Director for MediaLab, Inc. Barbara holds a Masters in Instructional Technology from Georgia State University.
Course information: This course is a review of clinical and laboratory recognition of transfusion reactions and the responsibilities of both areas for prevention of and proper response to a suspected reaction. 

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