Blood transfusions may have killed millions

Blood transfusions may have killed millions

“Blood Transfusions May Have Killed Millions.”

That shocking headline appears over a recent issue of HSI Panelist Jon Barron’s Baseline of Health e-letter. And the details are sobering.

This past October, Jon reported on a Duke University study that revealed how blood transfusions sharply increase the risk of heart attack and death. Here’s why: In the U.S., the law allows blood banks to store red blood cells for a maximum of 42 days. The problem is that stored blood begins to deteriorate very quickly. In fact, in the first day of storage there’s a 70 percent drop in levels of the molecule that carries nitric oxide in the blood, severely compromising the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen.

Then comes the second half of this double whammy: When blood is deficient in nitric oxide, it pulls nitric oxide out of surrounding tissue, causing it to constrict and become deoxygenated. Fatalities occur when that tissue happens to be heart tissue.

Two recent studies confirm the Duke results (clearly showing that blood stored more than 14 days can be quite dangerous), and add another danger: Transfusions increase stroke risk.

Jon writes: “Blood transfusions have been used as a standard medical procedure for over 100 years. And now it turns out they may be responsible for many millions of unnecessary deaths worldwide during that time. How could this be? Unlike alternative health, modern medicine is based on science – not anecdotal evidence. So why didn’t all those scientific studies on blood transfusions figure out that blood transfusions are, at best, an iffy proposition that should be reserved only for the most dire of emergencies?”

You can read Jon’s full article on his web site at

“Blood Transfusions May Have Killed Millions” Jon Barron, Baseline of Health, 5/12/08,