Transfusion Medicine
BloodCenter of Wisconsin provides medical services for our community hospitals in transfusion medicine related areas and medical oversight for blood collection and blood donors. Our physician group is involved in patient care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings through consultations and management of patients requiring transfusion, coagulation support and therapeutic apheresis. Our physicians are available for questions regarding blood collection, transfusion therapy, coagulation disorders, and hematologic concerns as well as questions about adverse events possibly caused by transfusions.

Transfusion medicine overview
BloodCenter of Wisconsin currently has 10 physicians as part of their practice group with training in pathology, internal medicine and/or hematology as well as specialty in blood banking/transfusion medicine. Together they represent more than 125 years of experience. The physicians are involved in the following areas of responsibility or activities:
  • Medical direction for the various Diagnostic Laboratories and blood collection at BloodCenter of Wisconsin
  • Medical direction of hospital-based transfusion services
  • Clinical consultation for transfusion support for alloimmunized patients and bleeding disorders
  • Oversight and management of patients undergoing therapeutic apheresis
  • Education of medical staff, residents, medical students and other healthcare providers in transfusion medicine related topics
  • Leadership and promotion of appropriate use of blood products and guidance for blood management projects at affiliated hospitals
  • Participation in basic science and clinical and/or applied research related to transfusion medicine and hemostasis

Transfusion medicine approach
Our expertise allows us to provide direction and management for a broad range of transfusion-related problems and issues for both adult and pediatric patients as well as donor management. Some specific activities include:
  • Diagnosis and treatment for hemostatic disorders
  • Management of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
  • Management of patients requiring therapeutic apheresis procedures< for a variety of indications
  • Evaluation and management of neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) and post-transfusion purpura (PTP) and ITP, including drug-induced disorders
  • Evaluation and management of autoimmune syndromes such as AIHA 
  • Evaluation of patients with transfusion - related adverse events and complications such as Transfusion - Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI), delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions and allergic reactions
  • Management and transfusion support for chronic transfusion-dependent patients including red cell exchange for patients with sickle cell disease
  • Serologic evaluation and transfusion support for perinatal patients who are alloimmunized against red cell antigens and at risk for Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborns (HFDN)
  • Leadership and promotion of patient blood management initiatives at affiliated hospitals
  • Guidance for alternatives to transfusion therapy and management of bleeding complications in patients on anticoagulants
Physicians are available for consultation and can be reached by:
Phone: (414) 937-6334
8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday

After hours, contact Hospital Services:
Phone: (414) 937-6160
For information about each of our physicians, please visit our Medical Staff.
Blood management and blood utilization
A key strategy for our Transfusion Medicine physicians is to assist our customer hospitals with their blood utilization and provide education and direction to reduce inappropriate blood transfusions. Blood management is a process for the provision of appropriate blood use to optimize patient outcomes. Blood management requires a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses guidelines for ordering and utilization of blood products, pharmaceutical products to assist in minimizing blood loss, blood conservation strategies, and continuous blood utilization data reports.
  • Healthcare providers and hospitals seek guidance to improve blood utilization while improving patient outcomes and potentially reducing costs. A blood management program can be instituted using various strategies to help attain these goals. Successful blood management programs include
    - Pre-operative and post-operative anemia management
    - Multiple blood conservation strategies particularly in the peri-operative setting
    - Pharmacologic agents to reduce bleeding and use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents
    - Reduction of iatrogenic blood loss by minimizing phlebotomy blood loss
    - Point-of-care testing to help guide transfusion therapy in the intra-operative and immediate post-operative period
    - Benchmarking of blood utilization for specific physician specialties and/or procedures
    - Standardization of blood ordering, blood administration and documentation and hospital transfusion service processes that lead to efficiencies and reduction in variation within the transfusion continuum - Evidence-based blood utilization guidelines that incorporate best practice.
  • Transfusion Medicine physicians are available for consultation and physician education in this area as a value added service to our customer hospitals.

ResearchBloodCenter’s team of Transfusion Medicine physicians lead and participate in a variety of clinical research studies to help advance patient care. They research areas that range from blood donation and transfusion outcomes to bleeding and clotting disorders and sickle cell disease. Some of their clinical studies are funded by grants from groups such as National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and Doris Duke Innovations in Clinical Research.

Information for professionalsThe Transfusion Medicine physicians at BloodCenter of Wisconsin have collaborated to provide concise information that may be of interest to healthcare professionals. If you have questions about these topics or other transfusion-related patient concerns, please contact one of our physicians:
       Phone: (414) 937-6334
       8:00 am to 5:00 pm
       Monday through Friday
After hours, contact Hospital Services:
       Phone: (414) 937-6160
Request an Education Program  If you are interested in having a presentation from one of our physicians, please go to our request form

BloodCenter of Wisconsin Blood Utilization Guidelines. The purpose of the BloodCenter of Wisconsin Blood Utilization Guidelines is twofold. The first is to provide practitioners and caregivers with an overview of evidence-based, suggested best practice for the appropriate utilization of blood and blood components to promote optimal transfusion therapy. Secondly, these guidelines also provide up to date references to support these practices. Selected references are listed under each blood component. The physicians and staff of the BloodCenter’s Medical Science Institute have compiled these guidelines after review of the cited references. Further review and final approval was then completed by the Medical Advisory Committee.

download-icon-red Adult Transfusion Guidelines

download-icon-red Pediatric Transfusion Guidelines

Transfusion-related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI)
. Concise overview of the definition, recognition and management of TRALI

Transfusion medicine information for patients & familiesYour physician has decided that you need a blood transfusion as part of your care. A blood transfusion could include red blood cells, platelets, or plasma. Your physician will explain why you need a transfusion, how it will help you and what the risks are. You or your family member will need to agree to the blood transfusion which can be given in a hospital or clinic. Please talk to your doctor regarding any planned blood transfusion. It is important that you fully understand the reason for the transfusion, any reactions (though rare) that could occur, and whether or not an alternative medication or treatment may be used instead.
Before you receive your transfusion, a blood sample will be drawn to determine your blood type and to check for “antibodies” that could react to the transfused blood in a harmful way. The blood product given to you will be one that matches yours as closely as possible to reduce the chance of a reaction. It is very unlikely that someone will get an infection from a blood transfusion. More than 10 tests are done on each unit of blood at BloodCenter of Wisconsin.
Blood transfusions are given through an IV (intravenous) line – a thin tube placed in a vein. Sometimes a patient can experience a reaction to the transfusion. The signs of a reaction can include:
  • Fever and chills
  • Rash
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back ache
  • Feeling dizzy or anxious
  • Yellowing of eyes or skin
  • Dark colored urine
The nurse caring for you will watch for these symptoms. They will check your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and breathing. Please tell the nurse if you are not feeling well during the transfusion.

After your transfusion is completed, you may return to your normal activity and diet. If you have any questions about the blood transfusion, please call your doctor or the nurse caring for you.
Additional information: Getting a Transfusion (English) or Conseguiendo una Transfusiòn (Español)