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Transfusion. 2013 Dec;53(12):3110-9. doi: 10.1111/trf.12171. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Factors affecting red blood cell storage age at the time of transfusion.

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  • 1Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Filton Blood Centre, Bristol, UK; John Radcliffe Hospital, National Blood Service, Oxford, UK; University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; New Zealand Blood Service, Auckland, New Zealand; Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vermont; Hema Quebec, Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Hospital Clinic Provincial, Barcelona, Spain; Hoxworth Blood Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Sírio Libanês Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.



Clinical trials are investigating the potential benefit resulting from a reduced maximum storage interval for red blood cells (RBCs). The key drivers that determine RBC age at the time of issue vary among individual hospitals. Although progressive reduction in the maximum storage period of RBCs would be expected to result in smaller hospital inventories and reduced blood availability, the magnitude of the effect is unknown.


Data on current hospital blood inventories were collected from 11 hospitals and three blood centers in five nations. A general predictive model for the age of RBCs at the time of issue was developed based on considerations of demand for RBCs in the hospital.


Age of RBCs at issue is sensitive to the following factors: ABO group, storage age at the time of receipt by the hospital, the restock interval, inventory reserve, mean demand, and variation in demand.


A simple model, based on hospital demand, may serve as the basis for examining factors affecting the storage age of RBCs in hospital inventories. The model suggests that the age of RBCs at the time of their issue to the patient depends on factors external to the hospital transfusion service. Any substantial change in the expiration date of stored RBCs will need to address the broad variation in demand for RBCs while attempting to balance considerations of availability and blood wastage.

© 2013 American Association of Blood Banks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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