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Transfusions with older blood linked to adverse events, death, new study finds

After a serious injury, the leading cause of death is loss of blood. Major trauma victims who receive transfusions of packed blood 22 days old or older may face increased risk of death within 24 hours, according to a new study in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“Our analysis shows that transfusions of packed red blood cell units stored for 22 days or longer are potentially toxic,” said Allison R. Jones, Ph.D., RN,CCNS, Assistant Professor, Department of Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care, School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham and lead study author. “To avoid adverse events or death, patients who require massive transfusions may benefit from receiving fresh stored packed red blood cells, or those stored for 14 days or less.”

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