Older blood is as good as fresh blood in transfusions

A study has found using blood that is three weeks old is as effective and safe for transfusions as blood that is less than eight days old

Freshly donated blood has no major health benefits compared with older blood when used in tranfusions, say researchers.

A study has found that blood stored for 21 days – the current standard – is as effective and safe to use as blood held for less than eight days.

The Age of Blood Evaluation Study, carried out by the University of Ottawa in Canada and the University of Edinburgh, looked at 2,500 anaemic patients in intensive care units in Canada and Europe.

Half were given blood that had been stored for less than eight days while the other half were given cells that had been stored for three weeks, which is current practice in the NHS.

The team found that those patients given fresh blood did not have an increased chance of survival compared with those given older blood, up to three months after treatment.

Researchers say that while there is concern among experts that older blood may carry risks to patients there is no evidence to support that.

Tim Walsh, of the University of Edinburgh’s critical care research group, said: ‘This is the first time we have been able to show conclusively that the outcomes with fresher blood are no different to those using the blood currently supplied by blood banks. It will be a great relief for doctors and blood transfusion services worldwide.'

To read the study click here

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