“Give blood. Give life.”1 The simplicity of the message belies the complexity of a blood transfusion. In no other area of medicine are large quantities of foreign antigens administered to patients with such frequency as with our current red blood cell transfusion practices. In fact, transfusion could perhaps be considered the most common transplant procedure performed in the United States. According to the Red Cross,2 14 million units of blood were transfused in the United States in 2001 alone, and the demand is growing faster than donations. Demand will further increase as baby boomers age; therefore, transfusion medicine will demand more attention.
Koch CG. Transfusion Medicine. JAMA. 2006;296(16):2030–2035. doi:10.1001/jama.296.16.2030
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