Blood Transfusions: What Are The Risks?

A transfusion bag filled with bloodWhat are blood transfusion risks?

Blood transfusion errors can occur in about 1 out of 14,000 transfusions. Most transfusion reactions occur because of errors made in matching the recipient’s blood to the blood transfused.


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These administrative errors may occur because of mislabeled blood samples or misread labels. Even receiving the correct blood type sometimes results in a mild transfusion reaction.These reactions may be mild or severe.

  • Most mild reactions are not life-threatening when treated quickly.
  • Severe transfusion reactions can be life-threatening, but this is very rare.
  • Mild allergic reactions may involve itching,hives, wheezing, and fever.
  • Severe reactions may cause anaphylactic shock.

There are several immune-related transfusion reactions: