Why on earth would this word be included in a blood bank glossary? Simply because I don’t want it to confuse you! According to the American Urological Association, hematuria is simply “defined as the presence of red blood cells in the urine.” Often, when evaluating someone for a transfusion reaction, people mistake this word for “hemoglobinuria,” which sounds really similar but means something completely different (further, the CDC Hemovigilance Module from the National Healthcare Safety Network includes hematuria in the list of signs of a transfusion reaction, which I personally find somewhat confusing). The take-home message here is that the presence of red blood cells in the urine (hematuria) means nothing to us in the blood bank, while hemoglobin in the urine (hemoglobinuria) is very important and may be consistent with a hemolytic transfusion reaction.

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