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Research provides insight into quality of stored blood used for transfusions
Date:5/20/2011

New research provides evidence for significant differences between new and old red blood cells used for transfusions and could provide a cheap, rapid and effective way to monitor the quality of blood supplies.

Even with preservatives, blood stored in banks continues to age, resulting in biomaterials leaking from the red blood cells and subsequent changes to cell properties and function. There have been concerns raised worldwide about using older stored blood because of questions about various changes believed to affect the quality of the red blood cells. Currently, blood stored in a special medium can be used for clinical transfusion for up to 42 days, but monitoring of the blood varies.

Dr Jay Mehrishi, PhD, FRCPath (a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists), formerly of the Department of Radiotherapeutics and Medicine (now called the Department of Haematology) at the University of Cambridge and one of the lead authors of the study, said: "Recent trials on cardiac surgery patients involving over 40,000 patients showed that transfused blood which was older than 14 days produced serious side effects.

"The side effects of transfusing old blood are thought to result in acute lung injury and possible adverse effects of the immune system. In severe trauma patients, transfusion of blood stored for more than 28 days doubled the incidence of deep vein thrombosis and increased death secondary to multiple organ failure. Our research will hopefully highlight the significant differences between old and new blood used in transfusions as well as the possibility of using our technique to quickly and cheaply monitor blood supply quality."

The electrical properties of red blood cells have previously been used to distinguish between foetal and adult haemoglobin as well as the mutated form of haemoglobin found in sickle cells from normal haemoglobin. Now, using the unique electrical properties of red blood cells, Dr Mehrishi, workin
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Contact: Genevieve Maul
Genevieve.maul@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-122-376-5542
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

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