Old blood boosts infection risk, study says

Just yesterday we reported that hospitals have been cutting back on transfusions, in part due to concerns over infection rates climbing among transfused patients. Now, a new study offers new support for their concerns, at least in cases of older blood being used.

The study concluded that hospitalized patients who received blood stored for more than four weeks were almost three times as likely to develop infections as those who received fresher blood. Patients getting the older blood saw increased levels of urinary tract infections, pneumonia and IV-associated infections--though for some reason, their risk of death wasn't increased.

Researchers think the release of chemical agents known as cytokines by the stored blood may have had an impact on the recipient's immune system, which made those recipients more susceptible to infections.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Chicago Tribune piece

Related Article:
Hospitals cutting back on transfusions