Recent studies show that transfusing older blood may lead to increased mortality. This raises the issue of whether transfusing fresher blood can be achieved without jeopardizing blood availability.We propose a simple family of policies that is defined by a single threshold: rather than transfusing the oldest available blood that is younger than 42 days, we transfuse the oldest blood that is younger than the threshold, and if there is no blood younger than the threshold then we transfuse the youngest blood that is older than the threshold. To assess this policy, we build a simulation model using data from Stanford University Medical Center. We focus on the tradeoff between the mean age of transfused blood and the fraction of transfused blood that is imported.For hospitals in which the local supply is greater than demand, our policy with a threshold of 14 days leads to a decrease of 10 to 20 days in the mean age of transfused blood while increasing the fraction of imported blood to less than 0.005 (i.e., 0.5%). If the health benefits from transfusing fresher blood can be confirmed by randomized clinical trials, then conservative assumptions suggest that this policy could reduce the annual number of transfused patients who die within 1 year by 20,000.The proposed allocation policy with a threshold of 14 days could allow many US hospitals to significantly reduce the age of transfused blood, thereby possibly reducing morbidity and mortality, while having a negligible impact on supply chain operations.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03239.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000298736000016
View details for PubMedID 21756261