New evidence shows red blood cell units stored 21 to 42 days have similar clinical effects in cardiac surgery patients compared to units stored up to 10 days.
The findings of the study, called the Red Cell Storage duration Study (RECESS), are published in New England Journal of Medicine.
The FDA allows red blood cell (RBC) units to be stored for up to 42 days after blood donation. At most hospitals, standard transfusion practice is to utilize RBC units that are closest to 42 days old, so that the donated units will not reach their expiration date and be wasted. RECESS sought to compare clinical outcomes in cardiac surgery patients who received RBC units stored up to 10 days and patients who received RBC units stored 21 to 42 days.