Blood transfusions and collections were increasing for more than 20 years. But the rising cost of blood, which can run from $500 to $1,000 for each transfused unit, coupled with the risks of transfusions, have caused many institutions nationwide to scrutinize the necessity for the procedure, according to a study co-authored by Dr. Lawrence Goodnough, a professor at the School of Medicine.
Use of red blood cells, a major component of blood, dropped 24 percent from 30,443 units in 2009 to 23,118 units in 2012 at Stanford Hospital. Transfusions of all blood products such as plasma and platelets at the hospital decreased from 60,204 to 48,678 units in the same three-year period, according to the study.
The trend is taking place throughout the country, Goodnough noted. Blood components supplied by the American Red Cross, which collects about half of the county's blood supply, dropped by 3 percent in 2009 and 2010, he said. The decline continued by another 3 percent in 2011 and by 5 percent in 2012, Red Cross officials reported at a meeting of the International Society of Blood Transfusion.