Blood Transfusion Service

The Blood Transfusion Service is an FDA-licensed, full-service blood bank that consists of The Kraft Family Blood Donor Center, the Outpatient Infusion Unit, the Apheresis Unit, the Transfusion Service and the Histocompatibility (HLA) Laboratory.

The Transfusion Service performs routine and specialized compatibility testing as well as the production of specialized components. In addition, the lab supports the transfusion needs of a number of specialty services, including cardiac and vascular surgery, bone marrow and other solid organ transplantation, the Level 3 burn and trauma services, and the neonatal intensive care unit. Approximately 70,000 blood components are transfused annually, in addition to clotting factor concentrates. The Transfusion Service includes an AABB-accredited reference laboratory for the resolution of difficult serological problems.


  • Robert S. Makar, MD, PhD - Director, Blood Transfusion Service
  • Walter H. Dzik, MD - Co Director, Blood Transfusion Service
  • Patricia Brunker, MD, MHS, MSc, D. Phil (Oxon) - Associate Director, Blood Transfusion Service 
  • Sacha Uljon, MD, PhD
  • Vikram Pattanayak, MD, PhD 
  • Grace Mahowald, MD, PhD

The Kraft Family Blood Donor Center collects whole blood for component preparation (approximately 13,000 donations per year) and platelet pheresis products (approximately 1,200 units per year) at the MGH main campus and on two mobile units.

A number of therapeutic procedures are available through the Infusion and Apheresis Units, including therapeutic phlebotomy (650 per year), extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) (300 per year), therapeutic plasma and cytapheresis (250 per year), peripheral progenitor cell collection (200 per year), collection of T cell for manufacture of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells (100 per year), and outpatient transfusion of blood components and plasma derivatives (1500 visits per year).

The Histocompatibility Laboratory is ASHI-certified and performs the HLA typing and antibody testing required for bone marrow and solid organ transplantation services at Mass General, as well as testing required by the Mass General Blood Transfusion Service and Blood Donor Center.

Physician consultation is available for therapeutic phlebotomy and apheresis, transfusion and infusion management, component therapy, use of specialized blood components in target populations, presurgical planning for reduced allogeneic blood usage, diagnosis and management of patients refractory to platelet transfusion, serologic problems, autoimmune hemolytic anemias, complications of transfusion, preoperative assessments and compatibility testing of transplant candidates and diagnosis of rejection episodes.

BTS Patient Service

The Blood Transfusion Service's Patient Service unit provides transfusion, infusion, therapeutic apheresis and stem cell collection for our inpatient and outpatient treatments. Our team of experienced medical professionals includes of five nurses (RN) and one licensed practical nurse (LPN). The practice is supported by a patient services coordinator, and physician coverage is provided by resident doctors who are supervised by an attending physician. The unit is managed by Cheryl Tierno, RN, BSN and directed by Patricia Brunker, MD, MHS, MSc, D. Phil (Oxon). The infusion unit is located on the first floor of the Jackson Building, room 120 and provides patients with a safe, comfortable setting.

Therapeutic phlebotomy

Phlebotomy is offered to patients with hemochromatosis or polycythemia vera. These patients benefit from the reduction of iron levels or the removal of red blood cells, respectively, that results from repeated phlebotomy.

Infusions and Transfusions

In our dedicated infusion unit, patients may receive intravenous immunoglobulin, clotting factor concentrates or intravenous iron. In addition, patients may be transfused with blood components such as red blood cells, platelets or fresh frozen plasma, which may be required to support them while they are receiving chemotherapy to treat a cancer or because they have an illness that prevents production of adequate numbers of these blood components. Experienced nursing staff monitor all treatments.


A variety of apheresis procedures are performed in our dedicated apheresis unit. We collaborate with the Mass General Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Service to collect hematopoeitic stem cells from patients and normal donors for autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants respectively. We are the largest apheresis collection site in the North Eastern Region for the National Marrow Donor Program. We collect T cells from patients for manufacture of CAR-T cells and we collaborate with the Mass General research community to collect T cells from patients for a variety of research protocols. 

We provide clinical consultation for therapeutic plasmapheresis to treat a variety of autoimmune and hematologic conditions including, but not limited to, Guillain-Barre syndrome, ANCA-positive vasculitides, anti-GBM disease, hyperviscosity syndrome and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. We also provide ECP to treat patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) as well as bone marrow transplant patients with severe chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). Physicians interested in these services can contact our Blood Bank resident by calling 617-726-8183  (Fax # 617-726-8507).