Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below

Oxygen carriers and transfusion medicine.

Author information

Dept of Transfusion Medicine, Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


The US blood supply is once again expanding (14 million units a year) and annual estimated whole blood and red blood cell (RBC) transfusion now exceeds 12 million units. The observed increase in total transfusions and units transfused per surgical procedure may result from more aggressive therapies, an aging population, and improved access to health care. While autologous blood collection has grown 20-fold in the past decade, autologous blood still accounts for < 8% of transfusions and is unlikely to replace much more of the allogeneic transfusion needs. Although safer than ever, allogeneic blood still transmits infectious disease (HIV:1 in 225,000 units, hepatitis:1 in 3300 units, HTLV I/II:1 in 50,000 units) and poses additional immunologic and non-immunologic risks. Allogeneic RBCs are probably underutilized because of safety concerns. While the cost of a unit of RBCs has been estimated at $150, costs are substantially higher in some areas and blood processing (filtration, gamma irradiation, washing) add additional expense. The narrowing margin between supply and demand, and repeated regional blood shortages argue for the value of safe, effective oxygen carriers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center