BACKGROUND: Liquid preserved packed red blood cell (LPRBC) transfusions are used to treat anemia and increase end-organ perfusion. Throughout their storage duration, LPRBCs undergo biochemical and structural changes collectively known as the storage lesion. These changes adversely affect perfusion and oxygen off-loading. Cryopreserved RBCs (CPRBC) can be stored for up to 10 years and potentially minimize the associated storage lesion. We hypothesized that CPRBCs maintain a superior biochemical profile compared with LPRBCs.
METHODS: This was a prospective, randomized, double-blinded study. Adult trauma patients with an Injury Severity Score (ISS) greater than 4 and an anticipated 1-U to 2-U transfusion of PRBCs were eligible. Enrolled patients were randomized to receive either CPRBCs or LPRBCs. Serum proteins (haptoglobin, serum amyloid P, and C-reactive protein), proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, d-dimer, nitric oxide, and 2,3-DPG concentrations were analyzed. Mann-Whitney U-test and Wilcoxon rank sum test were used to assess significance (p < 0.05).
RESULTS: Fifty-seven patients were enrolled (CPRBC, n = 22; LPRBC, n = 35). The LPRBC group’s final interleukin 8, tumor necrosis factor α, and d-dimer concentrations were elevated compared with their pretransfusion values (p < 0.05). After the second transfused units, 2,3-DPG was higher in the patients receiving CPRBCs (p < 0.05); this difference persisted throughout the study. Finally, serum protein concentrations were decreased in the transfused CPRBC units compared with LPRBC (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: CPRBC transfusions have a superior biochemical profile: an absent inflammatory response, attenuated fibrinolytic state, and increased 2,3-DPG. A blood banking system using both storage techniques will offer the highest-quality products to critically injured patients virtually independent of periodic changes in donor availability and transfusion needs.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic study, level II.