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Blood's Shelf Life May Be as Short as 3 Weeks

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2013

Watch and Wait
He added that the results of Frank's paper, which examined changes in blood in only 16 patients, "should not be the basis for changing clinical practices at this point."

Frank agrees. Both he and AuBuchon say the nation's hematology community awaits the results of two important studies comparing a number of major outcomes in patients who received transfused blood that was stored longer and those whose transfused blood was stored for just a few days.

Those trials are RECESS and ABLE.  RECESS (Red Cell storage Duration Study) funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a multi-center trial looking at mortality, multiple organ dysfunction, post-operative complications such as cardiac or pulmonary events in patients transfused with blood older than 20 days versus units stored less than 11 days.

ABLE (Age of Blood Evaluation study) funded by the National Institute for Health Research in Canada, a double-blind, multicenter, parallel randomized controlled clinical trial. It will compare transfused blood stored for 7 days or less (the fresh arm), with blood stored on average between 15 and 20 days (the control arm) with an eye to comparing 90-day morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients treated in hospital intensive care units.

The results of ARIPI, (Age of Red Blood Cells In Premature Infants), results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Feb. 13, andfound no outcome differences in patients who received blood stored for seven days versus 14 days.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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