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Red Blood Cell Storage

Changes that occur to red blood cells (RBCs) during routine blood bank storage include decreased deforma- bility, increased hemolysis and oxidative damage. Oxidative injury to the RBC membrane and hemoglobin can affect changes in shape and deformability. Ascorbic acid (AA) is an antioxidant that maintains hemoglobin in a reduced state and minimises RBC oxidative injury. We hypothesised that AA would improve membrane fragility and decrease hemolysis during storage. 

The storage of red blood cells (RBCs) results in numerous changes, which over time result in decreased recovery of transfused RBCs. In addition (at least in animal models), stored RBCs can be more immunogenic and also stimulate the systemic release of inflammatory cytokines in transfusion recipients. One component of the RBC storage lesion is the accumula- tion of oxidative damage. We tested the hypothesis that adding a chemical antioxidant (ascorbic acid) to stored RBCs would improve the quality of the stored RBCs.