Blood transfusion can be life saving. However, transfusion of blood or blood components must be ordered and administered safely and appropriately. The transfusion chain begins with proper donor selection and voluntary blood donation programme is the corner stone for sustained safe transfusion programme. Infectious disease testing, compatibility testing, necessary modifications such as irradiation or leukocyte reduction are important processes that affect the safety and quality of blood and components used for transfusion. The endpoint of the transfusion process involves recipient considerations; where proper identification of the unit and the patient, appropriateness of blood as the best treatment modality, administration of the unit, evaluation of the recipient are essential part in safe transfusion chain.
Around the world million units of red blood cells, platelets, and plasma are transfused daily to treat hematologic conditions such as severe anaemia, leukaemia, and thalassemia. Transfusions have long been associated with some risk to patients. The HIV epidemic during the 1980s was a major cause of fear; regular transfusions, especially of clotting factor concentrates, spread the virus quickly and nearly undetected. That outbreak prompted the development of biovigilance or hemovigilance: tracing and tracking transfusion-related adverse events and incidents, both infectious and non-infectious that affect blood donors and recipients. Another of the most significant issues complicating transfusion safety has been bacterial contamination of blood products, particularly of platelets. However, steps have been taken in the last decade to avoid, detect, and eliminate this complication through improved donor selection, specialised preparation of the arm before needle insertion, and special screening techniques.
Despite on-going improvements in the collection, processing, testing, delivery, and monitoring of transfusions during the past several decades, concerns over the safety of these therapies and the process in general continue today.
MedLab Congress this year has specified a one day programme for Transfusion Medicine; evaluating the importance of blood transfusion in daily patient care. The United Arab Emirates has hosted The 34thInternational Congress of ISBT in September 2016. It was one of the most successful ISBT congresses with 2,800 participants. It reflects the importance of this topic in the region and the interest of related healthcare workers in this topic. The Scientific committee for MedLab 2017 has worked hard in preparing a thorough programme that covers different aspects of Blood Transfusion Medicine by participation of expert speakers from different parts of the world to enrich the scientific programme.
We strongly recommend the participation of blood bankers in addition to medical health workers from different specialties to join us in the Blood Transfusion Track with MedLab 2017 to gain up to date knowledge about blood transfusion medicine that is showing quick development and exchange experience. This is in addition to the opportunity to meet and make new friends from different part of the world!