Transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) can be life-saving in patients with severe blood loss or patients with severe chronic anemia. On the other hand, RBC transfusion has significant risks, including volume overload, transmission of infectious agents, transfusion reactions, and various immunologic consequences including graft-versus-host disease.
The indications for RBC transfusion in infants and children will be reviewed. Other aspects of transfusion in infants and children are discussed in separate topic reviews:
●(See "Red cell transfusion in infants and children: Selection of blood products".)
●(See "Red blood cell transfusion in infants and children: Administration and complications".)
●(See "Red blood cell transfusions in the newborn".)