OBJECTIVE: Blood loss and transfusion are frequent among patients undergoing liver surgery. Concerns have been raised about the safety and efficacy of transfusing stored blood. The influence of transfusing fresh vs. stored blood on the liver has not been studied to date. We tested the hypothesis that transfusion of stored, but not fresh blood, adversely affects liver outcome in vivo following acute hemorrhage. Additionally, possible mechanisms linking adverse liver outcome with increased storage duration were evaluated. DESIGN: Prospective, controlled, animal study. SETTING: University research laboratory. SUBJECTS: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats INTERVENTIONS: Anesthetized rats were randomized to control, hemorrhagic and shock group (acute bleeding; HSG), or hemorrhagic and blood resuscitation groups (BR) (with fresh blood [BR-d0], blood stored for 4 [BR-d4] or 7 [BR-d7] days, or packed RBCs stored for 7 days [packed RBC-d7]). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Administration of blood or packed RBC stored for 7 days exacerbated liver injury as reflected by liver necrosis and enhanced apoptosis (p < 0.001). Functional MRI analysis of the liver demonstrated significant improvement in liver perfusion with fresh blood (% change in functional MRI signal intensity due to hyperoxia was 16% ± 3% in BR-d0 vs. 4% ± 3% in hemorrhagic group, p < 0.001) but not with stored blood (12% ± 2% and 9% ± 5% for BR-d4 and BR-d7, respectively). Analysis of stored blood showed reduction in RBC deformability at 7 days of storage, reflecting a five-fold increase in the number of undeformable cells. CONCLUSION: Liver injury is exacerbated by the transfusion of stored blood, primarily due to the change in the rheological properties of RBC. This data call for clinical studies in patients undergoing liver resection or transplantation.
- Blood storage
- Liver injury