Cees Th. Smit Sibinga, Yetmgeta E. Abedella


Transfusion medicine has come a long way and has for long been regarded a Cinderella in medicine.

Since the discovery around 1900 by Karl Landsteiner of the ABO blood groups as principle elements for compatibility, the science has been dominated by the laboratory research for immunohematology, microbiology and virology, focused on the test tube and not so much the patient.

Over the 20st century several development eras are to be recognized that contributed to the maturation of transfusion medicine as a bridging science. Twenty Nobel laureates contributed to this development.

The eras recognized are – blood group serology and immunohematology; preservation of blood and blood products; separation of blood components; transmissible diseases; community, donors and ‘soft sciences’; quality management and blood safety; organization, governance and leadership. During each of these eras transfusion medicine bridged with a variety of exact, gamma and ´soft´ sciences.

Today Transfusion Medicine is maturing into a unique multidisciplinary and bridging field. The outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic forced the creating of quality awareness and culture and centered the scientific attention back to the patient expressed by hemovigilance and patient blood management. 


transfusion medicine, bridging science, evolution, multidisciplinary

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only


Lindeboom GA. The story of blood transfusion to a Pope. J Hist Med 1954;9:455

Brown HM. The beginnings of intravenous medications. Ann Med Hist 1917;1:177

Makuf MFR. History of blood transfusion. J Hist Med 1954;8:59

Marinozzi S, Gazzaniga V, Ioro S. The eartliest blood transfusions in 17th-century in Italy (1667-1668). Transfus Med Rev 2018:32:1-8

Lower R. Philos Trans R Soc London. 1666;1:353

Hoff HE, Guillemin R. The first experiments on transfusion in France. J Hist Med Allied Sci 1963;18:103-24

Denis J. Concerning a new way of curing sundry diseases by transfusion of blood. Phil Trans R Soc London 1667; 3:489-504

Young JH. James Blundell (1790-1878): Experimental physiologist and obstetrician. Med Hist 1964;8:159

Leacock JH. On the transfusion of blood in extreme cases of haemorrhage. Med Chir J & Rev 1816;3:276

Blundell J. Observations on transfusion of blood. The Lancet 1828;2:321-24

Neudorfer J. Uber Transfusionen bei Anaemischen. Osterr Ztschr Prakt Heild 1860;6:124

Braxton-Hicks J. On transfusion and new mode of management. Br Med J 1868;3:151

Oberman HA. Early history of blood substitutes. Transfusion of milk. Transfusion 1969;9:74-77

Nobel Prize Laureates, accessible through

Landsteiner K. Uber Agglutinationser-scheinungen normalem menschlichen Blutes. Wiener Klein Wochenschr 1901;14:1132-34

The discovery and significance of the blood groups. Reid M and Shine I, eds. SBB Books, Cambridge, MA. 2012

Levine P, Vogel P, Katzin FM, Burnham L. Pathonogenesis of erythroblastosis fetalis; statistical evidence. Science 1941;94:371-72

Broman B. The blood factor Rh in man. A clinic-serological investigation with special regard to morbus Hemolyticus Neonatorum (erythroblastosis foetalis). Acta Paedr. 1944;31 Suppl. II.

Coombs RRA, Mourant AE, Race RR. A new test for the detection of weak and “incomplete” Rh agglutinins. Br J exp Pathol 1945;26:255-266

Lewis M, Anstee DJ, Bird GWG, et al. Blood group terminology. ISBT Working Party on Terminology for Red Cell Surface Antigens. Vox Sang 1990; 58:152-69

Dausset J. Leuco-agglutinins. IV. Leuco-agglutinins and blood transfusion. Volx Sang 1954;4:190-98

Dausset J. Iso-leuco-agglutinins anticorps. Acta haemat 1958;20 :158-66

Van Rood JJ. Leucocyte grouping. Academic thesis University of Leiden, NL. 1962

Dausset J. The major histocompatibility complex in man. Past, present and future concepts. Science 1981;1466-74

Virchow, R. Thrombose und Embolie. Gefässentzündung und septische Infektion. In: Gesammelte Abhandlu-ngen zur wissenschaftlichen Medicin. Von Meidinger & Sohn. Frankfurt am Main 1856:219–732.

Hustin A. Note sur une nouvelle méthode de transfusion. Communica-tion préliminaire. Annales et Bulletin de la Société Royale des Sciences Médicales, 1914;72:104-11

Lewisohn R. A new and greatly simplified method of blood transfusion. Med Rec 1917;87:141-42

Rous P, Turner JW. The preservation of living red cells in vitro. J Exp Med 1916;23:219-37

Stanbury LG, Hess JR. Blood transfusion in WWI. The roles of Lawrence Bruce Robertson and Oswald Hope Robertson in the most important medical advance of the war. Transfus Med Rev 2009; 23:232-36

Robertson OH. Transfusion with preserved red cells. Br J Med 1918;1:691-95

Loutit JF, Mollison PL. Advantages of a disodium-citrate-glucose mixture as a blood preservative. Br Med J 1943;2:744-75

Gibson JG, Rees SB, McMannus TGJ, Scheitkin WA II. A citrate phosphate dextrose solution for the preservation of human blood. Am J Clin Pathol 1957;28: 569-78

Högman CF, Hedlund K, Zetterstrom H. Clinical usefulness of red cells preserved in protein-poor media. N Engl J Med 1978;299:1377-82

Högman CF, Hedlund K, Sahlestrom Y. Red cell preservation in protein-poor media. III. Protection against in vitro hemolysis. Vox Sang 1981;41:274-81.

D’Amici GM, Mirasole C, D’Alessandro A, Yoshida T, Dumont LJ, Zolla L. Red blood cell storage in SAGM and AS3 : a comparison through the membrane two-dimensional electrophoresis prote-ome. Blood Transfus 2012;10 Suppl 2:46-54

Hess JR. An update on solutions for red cell storage. Vox Sang 2006;13-19

Walter CW. Invention and development of the blood bag. Vox Sang 1984 ;47:318-24

Prowse CV, de Korte D, Hess JR, van der Meer PF for the Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) Collaborative. Commercially available blood storage containers. Vox Sang; 106:1-13

Polge C, Smith AU, Parkes AS. Revival of spermatozoa after vitrification and dehydration at low temperatures. Nature 1949;164:666

Mollison PL, Sloviter HA, Chaplin HJr. Survival of transfused red cells previously stored for long periods in the frozen state. The Lancet 1952;ii:501-5

Lelkens CCM. Frozen red cells for military and civil purposes. Relevance, experiences and developments. Academic thesis University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. 2017

Klein E, Toch R, Farber S, Fiorentino R. Hemostasis in thrombocytioenic bleeding following infusion of stored, frozen platelets. Blood 1956;11:693-96

Weiss AJ, Ballinger WF. The feasibility of storage of intact platelets with apparent preservation and function. Ann Surg 1958;148:360-64

Arnaud F. Etude de cryopreservation de plaquettes sanguines ettdes cellules medullaires hematopoietiques. Applica-tions en therapeutique humaine. PhD thesis Université Scientifique et Médicale de Grenoble, France. 1983.

Beaujean F, Leforestier Ch, Mannmoni P,. Cliniucal and functional studies of platelets frozen in 5% dimethyul-sulfoxide. Cryo-Letters 1979;1:98-103

Abel JJ, Rowntree LG, Turner BB. Plasma removal with return of corpuscules. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1914;5:625-

Smit Sibinga CTh. Machine options for apheresis. In: Cash JD, ed. Progress in Transfusion Medicine. Vol. 3. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh/London/Melbourne/New York 1988:5-86

Tullis JL, Surgenor DM, Tinch RJ, et al. New principles of closed system centrifugation. Science 1956;124:792-97

Freireich EJ, Judson G, Levin RH. Separation and collection of leucocytes. Cancer Res 1965;25:1516-20

Djerassi I, Kim JS, Mittakul C, Suvansri U, Ciesielka W. Filtration leukapheresis for separation and concentration of transfusable amounts of normal human leukocytes. J Med 1970;1:358-64

Turner TB, Diseker GTH. Duration of infectivity of Treponema Pallidum in citrated blood stored under conditions obtained in blood banks. Bull Hopkins Hosp 1941;68:26

Barker LF. Introduction. In: Dodd RY, Barker LF, eds. Infection, Immunity and Blood Transfusion. Alan R. Liss, New York 1985:xix-xxv

Allen JG. The epidemiology of posttransfusion hepatitis. Basic blood and plasma tabulations. Commonwealth Fund, Stanford. 1972:1-135

Gocke DJ, Greenberg HB, Kavey NB. Correlation of Australia antigen with posttransfusion hepatitis. JAMA 1970;212:877-79

Blumberg BS, Alter HJ, Visnich A. A ‘new’ antigen in leukemia sera. JAMA 1965;191:541-46

Blumberg BS, Gerstley BJS, Hungerford DA, London WT, Sutnick AI. A serum antigen (Australia antigen) in Down’s syndrome, leukemia and hepatitis. Ann Intern Med 1967;66:924

Ling CM, Overby LR. Prevalence of hepatitis B virus antigen as revealed by direct radioimmunoassay with 125-I-antibody. J Immunol 1972; 109:834-41

Feinstone SM, Kapikian AZ, Purcell RH, Alter HJ, Holland PV. Transfusion-associated hepatitis not due to viral hepatitis type A or B. N Engl J Med 1975;292:767-70

Turner ML. Prion diseases and blood transfusion. In: Smit sibinga CT, Das PC, Dodd RY, eds. Transmissible diseases and Blood Transfusion. Kluwer Academic Publ. Dordrecht/]Boston/ London 2002:51-56

Will RG, Ironside JW, Zeidler M, et al. A new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the UK. Lancet 1996;347:921-25

Titmuss RM. The Gift Relationship. Allen and Unwin, UK. 1970

Oswalt RM. A review of blood donor motivation and retention. Transfusion 1977;17:123-35

Piliavin JA. Why do they give the gift of life? A review of the research on blood donors since 1977. Transfusion 1990;30:444-59

Piliavin JA, Calledro PI. Giving blood. The development of an altruistic identity. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 1991

Los APM, Smit Sibinga CTh. Donor management information system: An investment in the future. Transfusion Today Quarterly Newsletter of the ISBT. 1998;18:4-6

Los APM, Smit Sibinga CTh. Community involvement: The development – the past, the present and the future of blood donation as a form of community involvement. In: Smit Sibinga CTh, Das PC, Cash JD. Transfusion Medicine: Quo Vadis? What has been achieved, what is to be expected. Kluwer Academic Publ. Dordrecht/]Boston/London 2001:21-29

Vlek CAJ, Haasnoot GW. Improving blood donor acquisition and retention: A multivariate model understanding ‘Helping Behaviour’. In: Smit Sibinga CTh, Das PC, Alter HJ. Risk management in blood transfusion: The virtue of reality. Kluwer Academic Publ. Dordrecht/]Boston/London 1990:3-22

Vlek CAJ. Facts, fears and formulas about blood transfusions: On the assessment, acceptance and control of risks. In: Smit Sibinga CTh, Das PC, Snijder EL, eds. Trigger Factors in Transfusion Medicine. Kluwer Academic Publ. Dordrecht/]Boston/London 1996: 113-31

WHA63.12 Availability, safety and quality of blood and blood products. World Health Assembly Resolutions Geneva, CH 2010 accessible at

Towards 100% voluntary blood donation: a global framework for action. Dhingra N, Carolan P, eds. World Health Organization and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva, CH. 2010

Chadwick JR. Transfusion. Boston Med Surg J 1874;41:25-32

Ottenberg R, Kaliski DJ. Accidents in transfusion: their prevention by preliminary blood examination based on an experience with one hundred twenty-eight transfusions. J Amer Med Assoc. 1913; 61:2138

Lee RI, Vincent B. The coagulation of normal human blood: an experimental study. Arch Int Med 1914;13:398-425

Deming WE. The new economics for industry, government and education. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Engineering Study. Cambridge, MA. 1993

Schmidt PJ. Blood bank standards and procedure manuals. In: Smit Sibinga CTh, Das PC, Taswell HF, eds. Quality Assurance in Blood Banking and its Clinical Impact. Martinus Nijhoff Publ. Boston/The Hague/Dordrecht/Lancaster 1984:43-53

DeGowin EL, Hardin RC, Alsever JB. Blood transfusion. WB Saunders. 1949

Shewhart WA. Statistical method from the viewpoint of quality control. New York: Dover Press. 1986 ISBN 0486652327. OCLC 13822053. Reprint. Originally published: Washington, DC: Graduate School of the Department of Agriculture, 1939.

Andreu G, Morel P, Forestier F, Debeir J, Rebibo D, Janvier G, et al. Hemovigilance network in France: organization and analysis of immediate transfusion incident reports from 1994 to 1998. Transfusion 2002;42:1356-64

Serious hazards of transfusion. Annual report 1996-1997. Machester, UK. SHOT office 1998

Directive 2002/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 setting standards of quality and safety for the collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution of human blood and blood components and amending Commission Directive 2004/33/EC of 22 March 2004 implementing Directive 2002/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards certain technical requirements for blood and blood components. Official Journal of the European Union, L91, 30/03/2004, p25-39

Commission Directive 2005/61/EC of 30 September 2005 implementing Directive 2002/98/ EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards traceability requirements and notification of serious adverse reactions and events. Official Journal of the European Union, L256, 1/10/2005, p.32-40.

AuBuchon JP, Whitaker BI. America finds hemovigilance! Transfusion 2007; 47:1937-42

Global Data Base on Blood Safety (GDBS) accessible at

Hess JR, Schmidt PJ. The first blood banker: Oswald Hope Robertson. Transfusion 2000;40:110-13

Jansen van Galen JP, Smit Sibinga CTh. Process management in the vein-to-vein chain. In: Smit Sibinga CTh, ed. Quality Management in Transfusion Medicine. Nova Science Publ. Inc, New York. 2013:131-85

Beer S. Management Science: The Business Use of Operations Research. Aldus Books, London, Doubleday, New York. 1967

Smit Sibinga CTh. Filling a gap in Transfusion Medicine education and research. Transfus Med Rev 2009;23:284-91

Academic Institute IDTM accessible through

Graduate School of Medical Science accessible through

AABB accessible through

UN Millennium Development Goals accessible through

UN Sustainable Development Goals accessible through

WHO Universal Health Coverage, accessible through

Smit Sibinga CTh. Existing and recommended legislative framework for a National blood transfusion policy. Glob J Transfus Med 2017;2:89-96

Custer B. Economic analyses of blood safety and transfusion medicine interventions: a systematic review. Transfus Med Rev 2004;18:127-43

Postma MJ, Los APM, Ruitenberg EJ, Smit Sibinga CTh. Cost effectiveness of HIV NAT screening for Dutch donors. In: Smit Sibinga CTh, Das PC, Cash JD. Transfusion Medicine: Quo Vadis? What has been achieved, what is to be expected. Kluwer Academic Publ. Dordrecht/Boston/London 2001:45-51

Van Hulst M, Postma MJ. Cost-effectiveness of alternatives to allogeneic blood transfusion; reviewing the available evidence. In: Smit Sibinga CTh, Das PC, Dodd RY, eds. Transmissible Diseases and Blood Transfusion. Kluwer Academic Publ. Dordrecht/Boston/London 2002:131-42

Van Hulst M. Health Economics of Blood Transfusion Safety. Academic PhD thesis, University of Groningen, Groningen, NL. 2008

WHO Essential Medicines List, accessible through

Global Index Medicus (GIM), accessible through

Index Medicus for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (IMEMR), accessible through

Index Medicus for the WHO South-East Asia Region (IMSEAR), accessible through

Index Medicus for the Western Pacific Region (IMWPR) accessible through

International Journal of Clinical Transfusion Medicine. Dove Press, New Zealand.



  • There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.