Patient blood management (PBM) encompasses a holistic approach to the use of blood for an individual patient. It focuses on the premise ‘why transfuse?’ rather than ‘why not?’ and emphasises the principle that a patient should only be transfused when the potential benefit outweighs the potential harm. Transfusion avoidance, or minimisation, is recommended because blood and its components are biological products with effects that are still not fully understood.
PBM is individualised, patient-centred care aimed at better treatment outcomes. It includes optimisation of haemoglobin, minimisation of blood loss (including iatrogenic, intra-operative and post-operative) and the use of alternatives to blood transfusion where these are available and feasible.