SIMULATION OF A REDUCED RED BLOOD CELL SHELF LIFE
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Since the 1970’s, red blood cells have had a rated shelf life of 42 days. Recently, questions have been raised regarding the safety of transfusing "older" red blood cells. Evidence suggests that mortality increases with blood use and believed that older RBC are less safe than younger ones. Shortening the shelf life of RBCs, however, may increase costs and lead to greater instances of outdates and shortages. In this study, four simulation models are used to evaluate the impact of a reduced red blood cell shelf life on outdate, shortage, and emergency order rates. The results show that small consumer sites and networks will experience shortage and outdate rates exceeding currently acceptable targets at even a 28 day shelf life, while the largest consumer sites and networks would be expected to meet current targets at a shelf life of 21 days or greater.