Teaching Document: Variances in Transfusion Medicine


In accordance with AABB Standards, all actions contrary to the standard operating procedures and policies of Transfusion Medicine must be specifically approved by the Head, Transfusion Medicine or designate.

Documentation of variances must be organized in a system for ready retrieval for analysis.  They should not be entered into a system that is cumbersome to find the entered variances.

Examples include but are not limited to:  Rh(D)-incompatible transfusions, least-incompatible crossmatch, extension of expired rare reagents, etc.

If the same variance is occurring frequently, it should be determined if modifications in the underlying documentation (policies, processes, procedures) should be made.


  1. Whenever there is need for a variance in the policies and procedures in Transfusion Medicine, the Division Head, Transfusion Medicine or designate must be informed.
  2. The Division Head or Designate will review and accept/reject the request.
  3. If accepted, the variance must be documented in writing by any of the following:
    1. A paper form (pre-blood bank computer system implementation) that can ultimately be scanned or an electronic version stored in Transfusion Medicine.
    2. A comment in an appropriate field in the Medinfo computer system
  4. All verbal authorizations for a variance (e.g. telephone call to Transfusion Medicine physician at night) must be recorded on a form and submitted to the responsible TM physician for review and signature.
  5. All variance documentation must be readily retrievable for analysis.
  6. All variances must be collated and assessed as part of the monthly quality review.


  1. Technical Manual, Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, MD, USA
  2. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services, Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, MD, USA