Older blood may lead to more risk for infections

October 30, 2008 9:36:50 AM PDT
Hospitalized patients needing blood transfusions may want to start asking how old the donated blood is. A new report finds patients given blood stored 29 days or longer are twice as likely to develop infections. Twenty-nine days is well within U.S. standards, which allow for the use of blood stored up to 42 days.

But, patients in the study who got the older blood typically suffered an increase in urinary tract infection, pneumonia and infections associated with intravenous lines.

Researchers from Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey say although the apparent increase in risk is large, the overall number of infection remains small.