In this era of super-specialization, it is diffi cult to fi nd experts writing clearly about the basics of their specialties, making their subjects accessible to other doctors and healthcare workers. I feel that my collaborators have covered the fundamentals of transfusion medicine in an admirable, easy-to-read, comprehensible way. This fourth edition of ABC of Transfusion has been expanded, with changes to previous chapters and four additional chapters to cover topics which are now established in transfusion medicine, such as haemovigilance, variant CJD, blood stocks management, appropriate use of blood and alternatives to allogeneic transfusion, as well as the increasing involvement of the regulatory environment. The wider breadth of the subject shows that this is not an area devoted exclusively to haematologists, but to all those colleagues collecting, processing and screening blood, prescribing blood components, preparing compatible safe blood for transfusion and administering it. During my visits abroad in the last ten years, it has been rewarding to learn about the many colleagues worldwide who have encountered transfusion medicine for the fi rst time when reading previous editions of ABC of Transfusion. Some of them have become leaders in the fi eld as medical doctors, scientists, medical technologists, nurses, managers and marketers.
Blood transfusion continues to be life-saving in special situations, such as massive surgical haemorrhage, post-partum haemorrhage and severe malarial anaemia in young children. In addition, the safety of the blood supply and transfusion medicine have progressed considerably in the last few years. However, as the message from this book shows, we should only transfuse when the benefi ts outweigh the risks, yet we are still lacking evidence that blood transfusion works, or that it is the best therapy in a number of the clinical situations in which it is used. I am grateful to the many colleagues who have contributed to this updated edition of ABC of Transfusion; they have patiently awaited its long gestation. I have no doubt that they, as well as the readers, will be satisfi ed with the outcome.