Doctors have found a way of taking more blood from a patient awaiting surgery so that a donor’s blood need not be given. The autologous transfusion (the receiving of your own blood) has become more popular as fears have risen of contracting AIDS and
Now doctors have discovered that more blood can be taken from patients if they are treated with erythropoietin (a hormone which is produced in the kidneys, usually released when oxygen levels are low). Of 46 patients given the hormone, 44 went on to complete orthopedic surgery without needing donor blood. BMJ, 17 September 1994.
Canada has stopped all shipments of plasma to the US after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the States found 19 violations of US safety regulations at one Canadian blood centre.
The violations included inadequate screening of donors and the mislabelling of blood units. The Lancet, 17 September 1994.
Reactions to blood transfusions, such as fever, can be lessened if the plasma supernatant (fluid) is removed first, researchers from the McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada have concluded. NEJM, 8 September 1994.