Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicians Find Donated Blood Safe, But Aging Population To Face Shortage

Date:
February 11, 1999
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
The risk of contracting a virus - including the virus that causes AIDS -- from donated blood in the United States has grown too small to measure and can only be estimated through mathematical techniques, disease specialists say. On the other hand, too few people donate blood regularly, they say, and the percentage of donors has dropped. With the growing U.S. population also aging, the nation will face an increasing need for transfusions over the next few decades. One likely result will be a serious blood shortage, and more units will need to be imported from abroad.

CHAPEL HILL - The risk of contracting a virus - including the virus that causes AIDS -- from donated blood in the United States has grown too small to measure and can only be estimated through mathematical techniques, disease specialists say.

On the other hand, too few people donate blood regularly, they say, and the percentage of donors has dropped. With the growing U.S. population also aging, the nation will face an increasing need for transfusions over the next few decades. One likely result will be a serious blood shortage, and more units will need to be imported from abroad.

The first half of a two-part report on progress in transfusion medicine appears in the Feb. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The second half will appear next week.

Authors - all transfusion medicine experts -- are Drs. Lawrence T. Goodnough of Washington University, Mark E. Brecher of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michael H. Kanter of Southern California Permanente Group and James P. AuBuchon of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

"A lot of people, including most practicing physicians, don't realize that the U.S. blood supply is now extremely safe - so safe it's difficult even to estimate the risk of disease transmission," said Brecher, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the UNC-CH School of Medicine. "Because of that high safety level, the effectiveness of donating one's own blood for use during or after an upcoming operation, which does present a small risk to patients, is being called into question."

In 1983, the chance of contracting human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, from a unit of blood was about one in 100, Brecher said. Because of improved donor screening and tests on drawn blood, now the chance is one in 676,000.

The risk of contracting hepatitis A is one in a million, hepatitis B one in 250,000 and hepatitis C one in up to 150,000.

Bacterial contamination of platelets may pose the highest risk because platelets cannot be refrigerated or frozen like red cells or plasma and must be stored at room temperature for up to five days, Brecher said. But even with platelets -- required by some cancer patients and trauma victims -- the risk is still only one in 12,000 per bag. Many patients receive a pool of six to 10 platelet donations in a single transfusion, and so the actual risk may be six to 10-fold higher per transfusion.

"Since experts have predicted the proportion of the U.S. population over age 65 will double by the year 2030, there will be more operations, more transfusions and substantial demands on the blood supply," the physician said. "Use of transfusions has dropped over the past 20 years largely because of concerns about the safety of donated blood, but that trend will likely change now because of these factors."

Donor trends also have changed significantly since the 1970s. Rates of blood collection - the number of units collected per 1,000 people - peaked in 1987 and declined by 9.3 percent between 1989 and 1994. Contributing factors included the misconception that the AIDS virus could be spread by donating and increased donor rejection through more rigorous screening. Roughly a half million donors are disqualified each year.

According to a 1993 health survey, 46 percent of the U.S. population had donated blood at some time in their lives, but only 5.4 percent donated during 1993, Brecher said. People who donate blood regularly are desirable because they are more easily persuaded to give and have been screened repeatedly for risk factors.

Although an increasing percentage of donors are women, women are less likely than men to give regularly, likely due to decreased iron stores, he said. People over age 65, once discouraged from giving blood, now represent an important and growing source of donations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Physicians Find Donated Blood Safe, But Aging Population To Face Shortage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990211073902.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1999, February 11). Physicians Find Donated Blood Safe, But Aging Population To Face Shortage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990211073902.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Physicians Find Donated Blood Safe, But Aging Population To Face Shortage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990211073902.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins