With the increased presence of Chagas' disease in urban areas and the rising importance of transfusional transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi, a proper and realistic approach to hemotherapeutic treatment has become crucial in Brazil. Bringing together data from various institutions, this study analyzed hemotherapy and the problem of transfusional Chagas' disease in 850 Brazilian municipalities from 1988 to 1989. It was found that some type of hemotherapy was practiced in 68.8% of these municipalities at the time, this practice being qualitatively and quantitatively proportional to the population size of the municipality. The official blood bank system supplied the blood used in 13% of these services. In relation to prevention of the main diseases transmissible by transfusion, prior screening of donors was carried out by 75.2% of the services for syphilis, 65.4% for hepatitis, 53.8% for AIDS, and 66.9% for Chagas' disease. These percentages vary by region and by size of the municipality. The majority of donors are classified as voluntary, with only 2% categorized as paid donors. In the case of Chagas' disease, most services used only one serologic technique to screen donors, most commonly hemagglutination or immunofluorescence, while only 10.3% of services had previous experience with chemoprophylaxis using gentian violet. The proportion of potential donors with positive serology for anti-Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies was around 1%. These data were confirmed by information from blood banks and Brazilian hemotherapy professionals.