August 8, 2006
Between 41 and 71 percent of U.S. residents will need blood transfusion in their lifetime, study estimates
CHAPEL HILL – Between 41 and 71 percent of people in the United States will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives, a study conducted at the University of North Carolina Hospitals estimates.
While estimates such as these are frequently found in blood donor recruitment literature, the UNC estimate is the first based on data obtained from the documented medical histories of approximately 900 hospital patients, said the study’s senior author, Dr. Mark E. Brecher.
In addition, Brecher said, their study suggests that statements in some donor recruitment material indicating that up to 90 percent or “nearly all” people will need blood transfusions are overestimated. Nevertheless, this data demonstrates that the transfusion of blood is an integral part of the practice of medicine, he said.
“This study, by establishing the high rate of transfusion in the U.S. population, underscores the need for blood,” Brecher said. “We hope it will help motivate individuals to donate blood.”
The study has been published on the Web site of the journal Transfusion. It will be published Sept. 1 in the journal’s print edition.
Brecher is director of the Transfusion Medicine Service and the McLendon Clinical Laboratories at UNC Hospitals. He is also a professor and vice chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the UNC School of Medicine.
His study co-authors were Shauna N. Hay, research assistant and medical technologist; and Dr. Lori Scanga, a resident physician at UNC Hospitals in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
ABOUT UNC HEALTH CARE
The UNC Health Care System is a not-for-profit integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care. UNC Health Care is comprised of UNC Hospitals, ranked consistently among the best medical centers in the country; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; community practices; home health and hospice services in seven central North Carolina counties; and Rex Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County.