Duration of blood storage does not affect status of vital functions
Latest research has revealed that there is no change in the status of pulmonary, coagulation or immunology functions based on the duration of through which blood is stored. Stored blood and fresh blood have the same effect on patients when they undergo blood transfusion. The study was conducted by Mayo Clinic. According to Daryl J. Kor who is an assistant professor in anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, the perception that the duration of blood storage affects the quality of blood is false. Contrary to previous conceptions, the risk of pulmonary infections when blood is transfused does not increase when blood that is stored for longer duration is used for transfusion.
The lead researcher Daryl J. Kor said that experiments were conducted on patients, hundred in number, who are being mechanically ventilated in the hospital. Out of the hundred patients, fifty were given fresh blood transfusion and the other fifty were given stored blood transfusion. Observations in the early post transfusion period showed that there was no change in the health condition of patients in either of the groups. Fresh blood is defined as the blood that is stored for 4 or less than 4 days. Old blood is defined as the blood that has an average storage period of 26.5 days. Observations were noted down a couple of hours after blood transfusion.
Results of the study
The study clearly showed that there was no undesirable effect of the storage period of blood on any health parameter, be it respiration, immunological function or coagulation. Dr. Kor also said that the previous studies showing negative impact of old blood on patients could either have been due to bias or due to unintentional confounding. The present study followed the double-blind trial and hence, such risks were eradicated.
Limitations and scope for further study
Although the study did present conclusive proofs, there are certain limitations. Firstly, the study group is very small since results of experiments on a hundred patients cannot be generalized to the whole population. Secondly, all patients belonged to the same medical institution. Further studies are required in other medical facilities to come to conclusive results. Finally, although the short term implications of the study have been positive, long term implications are unknown. Further scope for study will include all these factors so that more concrete results can be established.