Although the FDA allows blood to be stored for forty-two days, researchers have found that patients who are given blood stored twenty-nine days or longer are twice as likely to get a hospital-acquired infection, as opposed to those patients receiving new blood. Researchers at Cooper University Hospital found blood stored even two weeks less than that may still be problematic. The patients who received the blood stored twenty-nine days or more developed blood stream infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, sepsis and many more at twice the rate of patients who received blood at twenty-eight days. Researchers said the blood was not infected at the time of donation but instead degraded over time.
The chief of the American Red Cross has asked for more data to be collected on this research in which 422 patients were tracked after checking into intensive care units and given blood transfusions. The average age of blood used in U.S. transfusions is seventeen days. Because of the lack of blood, many are skeptical to cut the time period regulation back any farther. This study is the first to find any danger in giving patients older blood.