PBCO has developed a resource to aid in the basic understanding of all transfusion reactions:

Transfusion Reaction Basics

For a more thorough review of specific transfusion reactions check out the following transfusion reaction cards that each outline:
• Etiology of the reaction
• Signs and Symptoms
• What happens “At the Bedside”
• What happens “In the Lab” - for additional information see What Happens After TM Physician Review
• Considerations for future transfusions (if any)


Febrile Transfusion Reactions 

Febrile Non Hemolytic

Incompatible Transfusion

Bacterial Contamination

Delayed Hemolytic

Acute Hemolytic                  

IVIg Hemolytic


Allergic Transfusion Reactions 

Minor Allergic                                                  

IVIg Severe / Anaphylactic / Anaphylactoid

IVIg Minor Allergic                                 

Anaphylactic Shock

Severe/ Anaphylactic/ Anaphylactoid  IVIg Anaphylactic Shock


Respiratory Transfusion Reactions 

TACO (Transfusion Associated Circulatory Overload)   

TAD (Transfusion Associated Dyspnea)                           

TRALI (Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury)


Other Transfusion Reactions 

IVIg Headache                                       

Post Transfusion Purpura (PTP) 


TA-GVHD (Transfusion Associated Graft vs. Host Disease)

IVIg Systemic

Delayed Serological

IVIg Aseptic Meningitis                                                             


Note: the above transfusion reactions only represent those which are frequently reported and do not account for all possible signs and symptoms or reactions. Similarly, the steps accounted for at the bedside, in the lab, and for future transfusions, are those that would be routine and do not account for more in-depth investigation(s) or treatment(s), which may be required in some instances.


Additional Resources:

CBS Chapter 10: Transfusion reactions

ORBCoN Resource Manual for Medical Directors of Transfusion Medicine: 11.0 Transfusion Reactions

ISBT Transfusion Reactions E-learning Module

• Video: Transfusion Reaction Interactive Case Review: It’s getting HOT – let’s talk fevers (presented at the BC Transfusion Medicine Rounds, October 2023)