Every day millions of people receive stored blood during transfusions and recent research came to finding that this blood may lack a component which is of great importance because it delivers oxygen to the tissues. This component, nitric oxide helps to keep blood vessels open seems to break down as soon as blood goes into storage.

These new findings may explain the numbers of heart attacks and strokes that are happening in patients who receive transfusion. It seems that red blood cells depend on opened blood vessels to deliver oxygen to the tissues. In case that blood vessels cannot open, the red blood cells back up in the vessels and tissues go without oxygen. That can lead to heart attack or even death in some cases.

It is noticeded that nitric oxide clears in the first three hours of blood storage. Researchers decided to add nitric oxide to stored blood and the result was that red blood cells were again capable to deliver oxygen to the tissues.

This research needs more observation and has to be proven that it’s clinically relevant.