Storing blood supplies too long increases a chance of an infection when it finally is used, a new study finds.
The researchers find that blood poisoning or a pneumonia risk nearly triples after donated blood has been stored for more than four weeks.
A total of 422 patients studied received stored blood between July 2003 and September 2006. Among 57 patients who developed an infection, researchers found it had been stored for three and a half days longer. Less infection was seen among those who received blood 28 days old or younger.
The blood itself was not infected, but the longer the storage, the more the release of chemicals called cytokines, which hinder immune function and can make a patient more susceptible to infection. The patients were no more likely to die however. The blood was not investigated for the type of infection.
The research, out of Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, was presented at the American College of Chest Physicians conference in Philadelphia.
The FDA dictates that blood must be discarded after six weeks. That’s because blood degrades as red blood cells lose their ability to travel through blood vessels delivering much needed oxygen to tissues. In the United Kingdom, the storage is limited to 35 days, reports the BBC.
This research echoes findings issued in March that heart surgery patients who received older stored donated blood, stored for more than two weeks, were 64 percent more likely to die in the hospital than those who received fresher donated blood. #