Think twice before you bite

When you need a blood transfusion, you probably don’t think too much about where the fresh blood is coming from.

Maybe you should. The vampire myths – that young female blood is best – may be wrong.

Dr. Dean Fergusson, a senior scientist and director of The Ottawa Hospital’s clinical epidemiology programme, has done some work on whether age or gender has an impact on survival rates following a transfusion.

According to him, the study linked 30,503 transfusion recipients between October 2006 and December 2013 with 80,755 blood donors.

And, surprisingly perhaps, recipients of red blood cells from women aged 17-20 had an 8% increased risk of death per unit transfused, compared with the age range 40-50.

For a recipient that received six units of red blood cells, this would translate into an associated risk of death of 36% for recipients of all-female donor blood compared to 27% for recipients of all-male donor blood after a year.

Why is this? It’s all speculation really. Says Fergusson: “our study was observational in nature, which means it cannot be considered definitive evidence.”

Think twice before you bite.


Picture source: Wikimedia