There's a story in the New England Journal of Medicine that might scare you if you have a loved one going into surgery. The study actually comes from the Cleveland Clinic and warns that a transfusion of red blood cells that are more than two weeks old appears to increase the risk for complications and death. They also found patients that are given older blood were more likely to suffer from kidney failure and sepsis.
So NewsChannel 11 decided to check with our local blood center. Les Long with United Blood Services says that there's no need to panic. Mr. Long said, "This study would make it appear that the shelf life, which has been set by the FDA at 42 days on whole blood, may be longer than it should be. However, in our area, we are always needing the blood supply. We wish we had a three day supply of the blood types we run short of most often."
Les says he is always watching to see if there are any changes in the shelf life of blood. He adds that the bigger concern here is just trying to collect enough blood to send to local hospitals, because they require anywhere between 110 to 140 units every day. So, our local blood is always fresh.
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