Challenges in the management of the blood supply

Lancet. 2013 May 25;381(9880):1866-75. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60631-5.


Although blood suppliers are seeing short-term reductions in blood demand as a result of initiatives in patient blood management, modelling suggests that during the next 5-10 years, blood availability in developed countries will need to increase again to meet the demands of ageing populations. Increasing of the blood supply raises many challenges; new approaches to recruitment and retainment of future generations of blood donors will be needed, and care will be necessary to avoid taking too much blood from these donors. Integrated approaches in blood stock management between transfusion services and hospitals will be important to minimise wastage--eg, by use of supply chain solutions from industry. Cross-disciplinary systems for patient blood management need to be developed to lessen the need for transfusion--eg, by early identification and reversal of anaemia with haematinics or by reversal of the underlying cause. Personalised medicine could be applied to match donors to patients, not only with extended blood typing, but also by using genetically determined storage characteristics of blood components. Growing of red cells or platelets in large quantities from stem cells is a possibility in the future, but challenges of cost, scaling up, and reproducibility remain to be solved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Donors / supply & distribution
  • Blood Preservation / methods
  • Blood Transfusion / methods
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Blood Transfusion / trends*
  • Donor Selection / methods
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics