The International Haemovigilance Network database for the surveillance of adverse reactions and events in donors and recipients of blood components: Technical issues and results

C. Politis, J. C. Wiersum, C. Richardson, P. Robillard, J. Jorgensen, P. Renaudier, J. C. Faber, E. M. Wood

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Background and Objectives: The International Haemovigilance Network's ISTARE is an online database for surveillance of all adverse reactions (ARs) and adverse events (AEs) associated with donation of blood and transfusion of blood components, irrespective of severity or the harm caused. ISTARE aims to unify the collection and sharing of information with a view to harmonizing best practices for haemovigilance systems around the world. Materials and Methods: Adverse reactionss and adverse events are recorded by blood component, type of reaction, severity and imputability to transfusion, using internationally agreed standard definitions. Results: From 2006 to 2012, 125 national sets of annual aggregated data were received from 25 countries, covering 132.8 million blood components issued. The incidence of all ARs was 77.5 per 100 000 components issued, of which 25% were severe (19.1 per 100 000). Of 349 deaths (0.26 per 100 000), 58% were due to the three ARs related to the respiratory system: transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO, 27%), transfusion-associated acute lung injury (TRALI, 19%) and transfusion-associated dyspnoea (TAD, 12%). Cumulatively, 594 477 donor complications were reported (rate 660 per 100 000), of which 2.9% were severe. Conclusions: ISTARE is a well-established surveillance tool offering important contributions to international efforts to maximize transfusion safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-417
Number of pages9
JournalVox Sanguinis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • adverse events
  • adverse reactions
  • blood donation
  • blood transfusion
  • haemovigilance
  • transfusion errors

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