Transfusion medicine (Blood Banking) as we see now has come a long way from a dream to a well practiced therapy. This has taken many sacrifices and the history is quite interesting. The earliest known transfusion dates back to 1542 when Pope Vincent VIII was given blood from three people and all of them died. The idea behind blood transfusion was to treat the disorders of brain. Madness was considered to be treatable by lamb blood!

In 1628 an English physician William Harvey discovered circulation of blood. Blood transfusion was successfully carried out in dogs in the year 1665 by English Physician Richard Lower. Thereafter there were many attempts at transfusing lamb blood in humans. But human to human blood transfusion was carried out much later in 1818 by James Bundell for Treatment of postpartum hemorrhage. Those days blood was extracted using cup, tube, syringe and gravitate. It was only in 1901 that Karl Landsteiner discovered ABO blood groups and gave some insight into the reason for such high member of failures. But the problem of incompatible blood remained even after transfusion of same blood group. It was in 1907 that Hektoen suggested the idea of cross matching. So Reuben Ottenberg performed the first cross matching in New York. He also recognized "O" group as universal donors. The first blood bank was established in 1937 in Chicago (USA). It was in 1940 that Karl Landsteiner and A. Wiener discovered the Rh system. Till 1960 blood was collected in glass bottles. Gradually commercial plastic bags with CPDA were introduced and this led to preparation of blood components in closed system. Manual Apheresis was introduced in 1960 and cell separators came in 1970s. TTI testing started for Hepatitis "B" in 1968. Gradually other diseases were included. Elisa testing was made available in 1985. Nucleic acid testing is the latest technology for testing the disease causing organism and offers advantage in reducing the window period and thus improving the blood safety. There after there were rapid strides in the field of transfusion medicine as we came to know more and more about blood, antigens, antibodies etc.
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