These guidelines have been developed in conjunc­tion with the hospital Transfusion Committee.  They are based on widely accepted transfusion practices and reflect current litera­ture and experience. The guide­lines provide general clinical indications for transfusion therapy of each blood component, but may not be all-inclusive. Patients who receive blood components according to the guidelines may or may not actually benefit. Alternative­ly, some transfusions that are not included in the guidelines may be justified under special circum­stances. These guidelines may be revised under appropriate circum­stances and will be reviewed on a biennial basis. Note: The term neonate is used to refer to infants less than 44 weeks corrected gestational (post menstrual) age.


These guidelines incor­porate the transfusion criteria used in ongoing quality assurance blood utilization review as required by The Joint Commission (TJC). It is important that the provider documents the patient's need for transfusion on the transfusion request order with each new order and specifies the indication for transfusion.


All RBC components (excluding autologous collection) and platelet components are leukoreduced pre-storage. These products are consid­ered CMV safe. Therefore, CMV seronegative blood products do not need to be specifically ordered. Leukoreduced blood products are not equivalent to irradiated blood products in preventing Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD). Irradi­ated blood products must be ordered for patients with specific conditions placing them at risk for GVHD as specified in this document.


The provider should discuss the risks, benefits and alternatives to transfusion with the patient, parent or guardian for all non-emergency transfusions and provide an opportunity to ask questions, and to accept or refuse transfusion. Consent for transfusion must be obtained for non-emergency transfusion episodes. The Circular of Information as well as local blood center pamphlets are available to assist the provider in this role. Additional questions may be referred to the hospital Transfusion Service, Minneapolis campus 612-813-6824, St Paul campus 651-220-6550. Information is also available on the following Internet sites:,,, and 



I.              LEUKOCYTE REDUCED RED BLOOD CELL CONCENTRATES (includes packed red blood cells, washed red blood cells, frozen deglycerolized cells)




A.           Acute blood loss (hemorrhage, surgery or iatrogenic) greater than 15% total blood volume (estimated blood volume = 70 mL/kg body weight) or 10% total blood volume in neonates (estimated blood volume 85 mL/kg) associated with:



1.         Signs and symptoms of hypovolemia (tachycar­dia, tachy­pnea, hypotension) unrespon­sive to crystal­loid infusion.


2.         Signs and symptoms of cere­bral or coronary hypoxia, fatigue, weakness, dizzi­ness or respiratory distress.


3.            In neonates < 7 days old when the cumulative blood volume removed over a one-week period due to laboratory testing exceeds 10% of the in­fant's estimated blood volume.


B.           Patients with present symptoms of anemia or at high risk to develop symptoms of anemia with any of the following.


1.            Hemoglobin less than 7 gm/dL


2.            Hemoglobin less than  10 gm/dL and:

·         Shock


3.            Neonates:

·         0-7 days:   Resp. Support Hgb <11.5 gm/dL

·         8-14 days: Resp. Support Hgb <10.0 gm/dL

·         >14 days : Resp. Support Hgb <8.5 gm/dL

·         0 -7 days:  No Resp Support Hgb <10 gm/dL

·         8-14 days: No Resp Support Hgb <8.5 gm/dL

·         >14 days:  No Resp Support Hgb <7.5 gm/dL

·         Preop Hgb <10.0 gm/dL

·         Shock, Hgb 11.5 gm/dL


4.         Hemoglobin less than 15 gm/dL and:

·         Cardiac disease

·         Cardiovascular bypass

·         ECMO


C.        Exchange transfusion


D.           To prime medical devices used during:

·         ECMO

·         Cardiopulmonary bypass

·         Apheresis

·         Hemofiltration


E.        Hemoglobinopathy


1.         Acute treatment of patients with sickle cell disorders who are symptomatic (cerebral symptoms, splenic, pulmonary or hepatic sequestration, priapism, or other sickle cell crisis).


2.         Asymptomatic sickle cell disease if scheduled to undergo general anesthesia for surgical or therapeutic procedures.


3.    Transfusion dependent (thalassemias)


4.         Scheduled erythrocytapheresis, hypertransfusion, or exchange transfusion for prevention of stroke, or in-patients with history of significant sickle cell complications.





·         It is inappropriate to transfuse patients who are asy­mptomatic or have mild symptoms of anemia that can be cor­rected with medical therapy such as deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12 or folate, or autoimmune hemolytic anemia.


·         It is inappropriate to transfuse patients with signs of hypo­volemia that can be corrected readily with crystalloid or col­loid infusion.



II.         LEUKOCYTE REDUCED PLATELET PHERESIS                                                    


NOTE: A single donor platelet pheresis (containing greater than 3 X 1011 platelets) is equivalent to 5-6 random donor platelet units (each containing greater than 5.5 x 1010 platelets). 




A.           Active bleeding or at high risk of life threatening bleed with qualitative platelet defect re­gardless of platelet count due to:


·         < 48 hours post Cardiac bypass or ECMO

·         Medication (e.g. Aspirin)

·         Known clinical conditions. May also consider using fibrino­lytic inhibitors, desmopressin or concentrates enriched in von Willebrands factor.


B.           Life or organ threatening bleeding during surgery, regardless of platelet count


C.           With massive blood replacement of greater than 50% of total blood volume within 8 hours



D.           Platelet count less than 150,000 per mm3 for patients on ECMO. (See specific ECMO guidelines)


E.           Platelet count less than 100,000 per mm3 under the follow­ing conditions:


1.            CNS bleed

2.            Neonate major surgery

3.            Associated with neurologic, cardiovascular, oph­thal­mologic, or other surgical procedures with potentially life or organ threatening blood loss during the perioperative time. (preoperative, intraoperative, up to 7 days postoperative)


F.            Platelet count less than 50,000 per mm3 under the fol­low­ing conditions:


1.         Critical Neonate Sepsis/NEC/DIC

2.            Neonate <32 weeks gestational age and <7 days old

3.            Active bleeding or invasive procedure


G.        Platelet count less than 30,000 per mm3 in low risk preterm neonate.


H.        Platelet count less than 20,000 per mm3 in term neonate, no other risk factors.


I.              Platelet count less than 10,000 per mm3 with consumption and decreased production.






A.           Documented coagulopathy: PTT greater than 50 seconds (>60 seconds in <6 month old patients) and/or an INR greater than 1.5 due to deficiency of soluble coagulation factors or anticoagulation therapy in pa­tients for whom a specific factor concen­trate is not avail­able, with one or more of the following:


·         Active bleeding

·         Within 24 hours of an invasive procedure


B.        Patients with suspect­ed coagulopathy and excessive bleeding and coagulation studies are pending (or unable to obtain) at the time of the trans­fusion. 


C.           Patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass surgery or ECMO at risk for coagulopathy and bleeding.


D.           Exchange transfusions


E.           Massive blood loss (greater than 50% blood volume).


F.            Replacement therapy during therapeutic plasma exchange for disorders in which Frozen Plasma is beneficial (HUS/TTP).


G.           Replacement therapy with one of the following:


·         >25 mL/kg/day chylous loss

·         Patients with protein C or S, or Antithrombin III defi­ciencies including premature infants with thrombosis. Consider use of antithrombin III con­cen­trate or activated protein C concentrates for specific deficiencies.

·         Thrombolytic therapy to augment thrombolysis (plasminogen)

·         Coagulation factor disorders in which specific factor concentrates are not available.




·         It is inappropriate to transfuse FFP to non-critically ill patients who are neither bleeding nor periprocedure merely because of a pro­longed INR or PTT. 






NOTE: Cryoprecipitate contains coagulation Factor VIII:C, Factor XIII, von Willebrand factor (factor VIII:vWf) and fibrinogen.




A.           Fibrinogen <200 mg/dL and <48 hours post cardiovascular bypass or ECMO.


B.           Fibrinogen < 100 mg/dL with one of the following:


·         Active bleeding

·         Critically ill neonate

·         Within 24 hours of invasive procedure


C.        Dysfibrinogenemia with active bleeding or within 24 hours of invasive procedure


D.        Patients with factor VIII deficiency or von Wille­brand's disease, although specific factor concentrates are pre­fer­red.


E.           Patients with factor XIII deficiency and active bleed­ing or within 24 hours of invasive procedure.


F.         Use as topical ingredient for invasive procedures, although proprietary products may be available.


G.        Massive blood loss (greater than 50% blood volume)




NOTE: All granulocyte product transfusions require pathology consultation and must be ordered 24 hours in advance for donor preparation and product processing.


The use of white blood cell products is controversial and all usage will be audited. Granulocyte concentrates contain consid­erable numbers of lymphocytes, platelets and red cells.  Red cell compatibility testing is to be performed prior to transfusion.




5% and 25% albumin is available through Children’s Pharmacy.





The treatment of patients with hemophilia and other rare heredi­tary bleeding disorders is complex and requires con­sul­tation with a pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist and coordina­tion with Chil­dren’s Pharmacy.




Immunoglobulins directed against viral or other undesir­able antigens may be indicated in certain immunodeficient pa­tients. The availability and composition of such products is variable. Consulta­tion with a pediatric Hematology/

­Oncology, and/or Infectious Disease are required. Immune Globulins are available through Children’s Pharmacy.







Required only for cellular products including leukocyte reduced Red Blood
Cells, Platelet concentrates, and Granuloctyes. Irradiation of blood products is not required for patients pending solid organ transplant or diagnosed with AIDS due to HIV.




A.           Documented or suspected, acquired or congenital immunodeficiency disorders


B.        Infants < 4 months old throughout the admission period


C.        Therapy induced immunosuppression (aggressive chemo­therapy, immunotherapy, or extensive radiation therapy)


D.        Granulocyte concentrates/buffy coats


E.        Directed donations from blood relatives


F.            HLA-matched apheresis platelets/crossmatch compatible platelets


G.           Exchange transfusion in newborns







A.        Patients with IgA deficiency and antibodies to IgA


B.        Patients with unusual antigenic phenotypes







A.        Severe transfusion reactions related to plasma proteins



Post merger document history:
Approved by Transfusion Committee: 7/1996
Original effective date:  12/1996
Approved by Transfusion Committee: 10/2001
Revision 1 effective date: 05/01/2002
Approved by Transfusion Committee on: 10/2002
Revision 2 effective date: 05/16/2003
Approved by Transfusion Committee: 5/2005
Revision 3 effective date: 8/01/2005
Approved by Transfusion Committee 1/31/07
Revision 4 effective date: 7/24/07
Approved by Transfusion Committee 2/6/08
Revision 5 effective 7/2/08
Approved by Transfusion Committee 11/5/08
Revision 5 effective 1/1/09