New research suggests the 'shelf life' of donated blood may be shorter than once thought.
A Johns Hopkins study found red blood cells stored for over three weeks begin to lose flexibility and can no longer squeeze through small capillaries to deliver oxygen.
Right now, blood banks consider six weeks as the standard storage time. Researchers say the diminished quality of blood after three weeks was not reversible and appeared to be permanent.
More studies are underway to determine the relative safety of older versus newer blood, but experts warn that blood banks may need to be prepared to change their storage time limits.
Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.