Single unit blood transfusions

This page contains information for clinical and laboratory transfusion staff to support a single unit approach to blood transfusion

PBM strategies are paramount to optimize patients own red cells and avoid transfusion where possible. However, where transfusion is unavoidable, restrictive Hb thresholds and a single unit approach should be adopted for non- bleeding, stable patients and those not on a chronic transfusion programme.

Transfusing one unit at a time minimises inappropriate transfusion thereby minimizing any serious risks associated with transfusion such as TACO.


The Patient Blood Management (PBM) recommendations endorsed by NHS England state (2014):

'Transfuse one dose of blood component at a time e.g. one unit of red cells or platelets in non-bleeding patients and reassess the patient clinically and with a further blood count to determine if further transfusion is needed.'

The British Society for Haematology (BSH) administration guidelines 2017 and NICE Blood Transfusion guideline (NG24) 2015 support a single unit transfusion approach.

Single unit transfusion applies to stable, normovolaemic adult in-patients who do not have evidence of clinically significant bleeding.

If you would like more information, please contact your Patient Blood Management Practitioner.