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Lookback

Australia has one of the safest blood supplies in the world. 

Modern testing means the risk of receiving an infection through donated blood is now extremely rare (less than 1 in 1 million). Find out more about these tests.  

What is Lookback?

Lookback is the process of identifying, contacting and testing donors whose blood was transfused to a patient who has been diagnosed with an infection that has possibly been transmitted by transfusion. The Lifeblood Medical Services team manages these investigations.

We routinely investigate transfusions that were received from January 1985 onwards. We’re generally unable to investigate transfusions earlier than 1985. 

Record availability from hospitals is a major limiting factor for earlier transfusion dates, since transfusion records are often only kept for 20 years.

When we investigate, we:

  • Obtain the transfusion record from the patient’s hospital record as we don’t hold this information.

  • Identify the blood donors who provided the blood that was transfused.

  • Check each donor’s status for the relevant infection. This may require donor tracing and further testing.

  • Provide the patient’s doctor with a report of the investigation. This does not include the identity of the donor.

What should you do if you believe you’ve acquired a blood-borne virus from a transfusion?

Consult your treating doctor as soon as possible if you suspect or know you have an infection such as hepatitis B or C virus.

If your infection is confirmed, you or your doctor can request further information about the Lookback process by phoning the Lifeblood on the number/s below. 

Location Contact
NSW, ACT, Victoria and Tasmania  1300 781 757
Queensland 07 3838 9223
South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory        08 8422 1252             
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