Blood banks now consider six weeks to be the maximum permitted storage time of blood for use in transfusion, but recent studies have suggested transfusing blood stored for more than a few weeks has adverse effects in patients undergoing cardiac surgery or critical care.
The new finding suggests a mechanism explaining why older blood might be detrimental to patient health: a deficiency in nitric oxide, a short-lived chemical messenger that relaxes blood vessels.
The results were presented at the American College of Cardiology 62nd Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.
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