Patient information leaflets

Information for patients about blood transfusion

A blood transfusion is a relatively common procedure that can save and improve lives. Often patients who receive a blood transfusion experience no complications or problems. However, there are associated risks and minor to severe problems can occur. The clinical team treating you should discuss these risks with you.  Our leaflets do not replace the guidance provided by the clinical team treating you.

The clinical team will be able to explain to you the reason for the suggested transfusion, benefits, risks and any suitable alternatives. They should ensure that you are aware of the risk of injury, associated with any treatment they offer, including those of importance specifically to you.  If you are unsure about any aspects of your treatment / care, ask them to explain. 

More information on transfusion, including some of the risks, is on NHS Choices and our consent page. 

If you require assistance downloading the leaflets please call the Customer Service team on 01865 381010.


As part of our culture for continuous improvement, our Patient Blood Management team welcome your comments on our leaflets. Your feedback is invaluable to us; please email your comments to

Review process for leaflets

NHS Blood and Transplant is currently reviewing the provision of patient information regarding blood component transfusion. As a result, we are suspending our review process for leaflets. Therefore, some leaflets may exceed their review date; however, they are still current, relevant, and suitable for use. 

Ordering leaflets

Please use the distribution hub to order hard copies of our leaflets. On your first visit you will need to create an account, please refer to our instructions (PDF). Not all resources are available to order; however, they can be downloaded via the links below. 

Promoting our leaflets

Please use this poster (PDF) to promote awareness and use of the leaflets.

Alternatives to transfusion management

Anaemia (PDF) print friendly factsheet (PDF)  
Explains what anaemia is, its signs and symptoms, the different types, and how it can be treated. 

Cell salvage factsheets
Information for patients on the use of cell salvage (JPAC website).

Iron in your diet (PDF)
Explains the importance of iron and which foods are iron-rich.

Patient Blood Management (PDF)
Explains the principles of Patient Blood Management which aims to optimise the treatment of patients. Please download, not available to order from the distribution hub.

Blood component transfusion leaflets

Fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate (PDF)
Describes these components and their use as part of a treatment process. Please download, not available to order from the distribution hub.

Information for patients needing irradiated blood (PDF)
Explains why irradiated blood is needed.

Information for patients who have received an unexpected blood transfusion (PDF)
Supplementary information for use alongside another leaflet. 

Information for patients with sickle cell disease who may need a blood transfusion (PDF)
Explains how and why blood transfusions may be used in patients with sickle cell disease. Please download, not available to order from the distribution hub.

Will I need a blood transfusion? (PDF) 
Explains why patients might need a blood transfusion, and how they may feel during the process.

Will I need a platelet transfusion? (PDF)
Explains why patients might need a platelet transfusion, and how they may feel during the process. Please download, not available to order from the distribution hub.

Leaflets for children and parents

Amazing you (PDF)
Explains to young children about blood, red cells, white cells and platelets.

Voyages on the microsub discovery (PDF)
This is aimed at older children and explains why a blood transfusion may be needed.

Will my baby need a blood transfusion? (PDF)
A guide for parents / guardians explaining why a blood transfusion may be necessary. Please download, not available to order from the distribution hub.

Will your child need a blood transfusion?  (PDF)
What to expect if a child needs a blood transfusion. Please download, not available to order from the distribution hub.

Will my child need a plasma transfusion? 
This leaflet is being withdrawn due to the change in SaBTO guidance about plasma provision coming into effect. “Fresh Frozen Plasma and Cryoprecipitate” is now appropriate for all patients (see blood component transfusion leaflets above).

Pregnancy related leaflets

Blood groups and red cell antibodies in pregnancy (PDF)
Explains why blood groups and antibodies are important in pregnancy.

This NHSBT leaflet follows the existing British Society for Haematology guidance. Please note that NICE guidelines; Ectopic Pregnancy and Miscarriage [NG126 April 2019], give different advice regarding prophylactic anti-D for management of miscarriage and threatened miscarriage and Abortion Care [NG140 September 2019] give different advice for medical termination of pregnancy.

D negative Mother's blood test to check her unborn baby's blood group (PDF) 
The leaflet explains the importance of the test which identifies Mothers who need the anti-D injection.  Please note, it is only available to Trusts which have implemented the fetal screening test.

Platelet antigens and antibodies in pregnancy (PDF)
This leaflet is not available for routine ordering. It is sent out routinely with the report and card if a positive assay has been found. If the mother / patient have lost their leaflet or not received it, please write to H&I, NHS Blood and Transplant, North Bristol Park, Northway, Filton, Bristol BS34 7QH for a copy.

These leaflets explain H&I investigations required for transplantation and immunological conditions.

These leaflets explain TAS procedures