improve safety for blood donors and transfusion recipients through promoting and supporting haemovigilance systems

Haemovigilance (HV) comprises surveillance procedures covering the whole transfusion chain from collection of blood (components) to follow-up of its recipients. It assesses information on undesirable transfusion effects to prevent their occurrence. This includes local venepuncture accidents, iron depletion, graft vs. host disease and mild to severe transfusion reactions. The HV definitions aim to standardize and report all these events in order to improve blood safety.


The WP focuses on both recipients and donors. We develop definitions and tools and share and compare data. We regularly discuss updates on international activities and work on definitions and tools. We collaborate with HV organisations across the world.

Our Chairperson is Mary Townsend.

We have one shared subgroup, the Paediatric Subgroup of the Clinical Transfusion and the Haemovigilance Working Party (chaired by Gemma Crighton). This subgroup has a particular interest in neonatal and paediatric transfusion adverse events, reporting and definitions. Click here to navigate to the Paediatrics Subgroup webpage.


We meet at the ISBT congresses and develop HV definitions and tools. We also participate in international projects and have regular discussions with other Working Parties.

Joining the WP

Any professional who is actively involved in HV at any level is able to join this WP. Pharmaceutical company employees are able to join only if they contribute from a technical and scientific point of view, are transparent about their affiliation and do not promote any products.

Interested in joining the Haemovigilance WP? Please email our Chairperson.




Some of the content is only accessible for ISBT-members. To join us, click here.


Access the WHO Aide memoire on National Haemovigilance System here.

Haemovigilance Guidance Document

  1. Updated Definitions for Respiratory Complications of Blood TransfusionMartin R Schipperus, Johanna C Wiersum-Osselton, ISBT-IHN-AABB TACO Definition Revision GroupTransfusion, 2019 July
  2. Revised international surveillance case definition of transfusion-associated circulatory overload: a classification agreement validation studyWiersum-Osselton JC, Whitaker B, Grey S, Land K, Perez G, Rajbhandary S, Andrzejewski C Jr, Bolton-Maggs P, Lucero H, Renaudier P, Robillard P, Santos M, Schipperus MThe Lancet Haematology, May 09, 2019
  3. International haemovigilance: what have we learned and what do we need to do next?E. M. Wood, A. L. Ang, A. Bisht, P. H. Bolton‐Maggs, A. G. Bokhorst, O. Flesland, K. Land, J. C. Wiersum‐Osselton, M. R. Schipperus, P. Tiberghien, B. I. WhitakerTransfusion Medicine, 06 February 2019
  4. International validation of harmonized definitions for complications of blood donations.Land KJ, Townsend M, Goldman M, Whitaker BI, Perez GE, Wiersum-Osselton JCTransfusion, October 2018
  5. The International Haemovigilance Network Database for the Surveillance of Adverse Reactions and Events in Donors and Recipients of Blood Components: technical issues and resultsPolitis C. , Wiersum JC., Richardson C., Robillard P., Jorgensen J. , Renaudier P., Faber JC., Wood EM.Vox Sanguinis 2016 Nov; 111 (4): 409–417.
  6. Development of standard definitions for surveillance of complications related to blood donation.Goldman M, Land K, Robillard P, Wiersum-Osselton J.Vox Sang. 2015 Sept;110(2):185-8
  7. International survey on definitions and current practices in prevention, diagnosis, management and reporting of transfusion‐transmitted bacterial infectionsE. Chew R. J. Benjamin C. P. McDonald J. C. Wiersum‐Osselton E. M. WoodISBT Science Series 2015 June, 10, 31–40, doi.org/10.1111/voxs.12176
  8. Donor vigilance: a global updateJ. C. Wiersum‐Osselton T. Marijt‐van der Kreek A. G. Bokhorst W. L. A. M. de KortISBT Science Series 2014 July, 9, 228–233, doi.org/10.1111/voxs.12090
  9. Haemovigilance: concepts and frameworksE. M. Wood L. Stevenson L. Bielby J. C. Wiersum‐OsseltonISBT Science Series 2014 July, 9, 86–90, doi.org/10.1111/voxs.12105
  10. Definitions in haemovigilance: guiding principles and current state of development of international reference definitionsJ. C. Wiersum‐Osselton E. Wood P. H. B. Bolton‐Maggs M. R. SchipperusISBT Science Series 2014 July 9, 91–97, doi.org/10.1111/voxs.12091
  11. Donor vigilance: progress and challengesJ. C. Wiersum‐Osselton T. Marijt‐van der Kreek W. L. A. M. de KortISBT Science Series 2012 June, 7: 251–255, doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-2824.2012.01588.x

Validation exercises


Mary Townsend

Mary Townsend


Senior Medical Director at Vitalant, USA