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February 26, 1982

Can 'artificial blood' live up to public billing?

JAMA. 1982;247(8):1104-1105. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320330008003

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The complex story of the substance known as "artificial blood" continues to unfold in the lay press, while the medical community wonders whether the compound can live up to its public billing and what function it should serve in blood banking.

The group of compounds called perfluorochemicals, with their oxygen-carrying capacity, have been around for about two decades, but the first commercially produced one is Fluosol, distributed in the United States by Alpha Therapeutics Corp, a subsidiary of the Green Cross Corp of Osaka, Japan.

The term artificial blood, so much used in the popular press, is universally disliked by those who work with the compound, which is not artificial blood at all but an oxygen transport medium and plasma expander. Fluosol only does the job of hemoglobin, its effects last only about 72 hours, and it lacks clotting factors and other properties of the real thing (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS]