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Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not All

Posted 1 day ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 – Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks – but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests. The study was done in the United Kingdom, where experts recommend that blood donors wait 12 to 16 weeks before giving again. That's in contrast to the United States, where blood donations are already allowed at eight-week intervals. The study – a large clinical trial involving more than 45,000 blood donors – was set up to answer a critical question: Do frequent donors suffer ill health effects? The answer, researchers found, was "nuanced." There was no evidence that frequent donations caused "major adverse effects," such as draining donors' physical energy, dimming their mental sharpness or harming their general quality of life. "Frequent," in this trial, meant every eight weeks for men and every 12 weeks for women, over ... Read more

Related support groups: Fatigue, Restless Legs Syndrome, Anemia, Iron Deficiency Anemia, Blood Transfusion, Blood Cell Transplantation

Imbruvica Approval Expanded to Include Graft Versus Host Disease

Posted 3 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2, 2017 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday expanded approval for the anti-cancer drug Imbruvica (ibrutinib) to include adults with chronic graft versus host disease (cGVHD). cGVHD is a deadly condition that affects up to 70 percent of people who receive a stem cell transplant to treat cancers of the blood or bone marrow, the FDA said in a news release. The condition occurs when the transplanted cells attack healthy cells in a patient's tissues. "This approval highlights how a known treatment for cancer is finding a new use in treating a serious and life-threatening condition that may occur in patients with blood cancer who receive a stem cell transplant," said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence. Use of Imbruvica to treat cGVHD was studied in a clinical trial of 42 people whose symptoms lingered despite standard ... Read more

Related support groups: Prednisone, Bleeding Disorder, Methylprednisolone, Prednisolone, Hydrocortisone, Medrol, Cortisone, Dexamethasone, Triamcinolone, Betamethasone, Budesonide, Decadron, Blood Transfusion, Entocort, Solu-Medrol, Imbruvica, Entocort EC, Florinef, Fludrocortisone, Medrol Dosepak

Blood Shortage Prompts Call for Donations

Posted 6 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 6, 2017 – The American Red Cross needs your blood, and it needs it now. The group issued an emergency call for donations on Wednesday. Over the past two months, there have been about 61,000 fewer donations than what is needed, the organization said. "The decline in summer donations is causing a significant draw-down of our overall blood supply, and we urgently need people to give now to restock hospital shelves and help save lives," said Shaun Gilmore, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services. The July 4th holiday has been especially challenging: Nearly 700 fewer blood drives were held this week than during an average week. That's the equivalent of no blood drives nationwide for an entire day, the agency explained. "Every day, patients recovering from accidents or those receiving treatments for cancer or blood disorders rely on lifesaving blood products, regardless of ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Bleeding Disorder, Iron Deficiency Anemia, Blood Transfusion, Thalassemia, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Blood Cell Transplantation

U.S. Blood Supply Safe From Zika Virus, Officials Say

Posted 7 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, April 7, 2017 – U.S. blood banks are confident they have the tools to protect America's blood supply from possible new Zika virus outbreaks during the upcoming mosquito season. A transfusion of Zika-tainted blood can pass the virus to an unsuspecting recipient, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But sophisticated genetic tests and blood processing procedures make it highly unlikely that anyone will contract Zika from donated blood, according to a series of articles in a special issue of the journal Transfusion. Every blood donation in the United States undergoes testing for the presence of Zika virus, based on guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Susan Stramer, vice president of scientific affairs for the American Red Cross. About 40 U.S. donations have tested positive for Zika since screening began, mostly in Florida, Stramer ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Transfusion, Hydrocephalus, Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Blood Cell Transplantation

Baby Boomers Get an 'F' for Hep C Testing

Posted 8 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 8, 2017 – Despite recommendations, too few American baby boomers are tested for hepatitis C, a new study reveals. In 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advised all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 to get a one-time test for hepatitis C virus. "Prevalence of [hepatitis C virus] testing among baby boomers did not substantially increase and remains low two years after the USPSTF recommendation in 2013," Ahmedin Jemal of the American Cancer Society's surveillance and health services research program, and colleagues reported. Of the estimated 3.5 million Americans who have the virus, 80 percent are baby boomers. And most don't know they are infected with the contagious liver disease, the researchers explained. Treatment is needed to reduce the risk of related diseases, such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer, the study authors added. ... Read more

Related support groups: Hepatitis C, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Blood Transfusion, Blood Cell Transplantation

Blood Shortage Prompts Red Cross Call for Donations

Posted 6 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 6, 2017 – Blood donations to the American Red Cross have slumped recently, so donors are desperately needed, the organization says. "Hospital patients need lifesaving blood this winter, and they're relying on the generosity of volunteer donors to provide hope in the days and weeks ahead," said Chris Hrouda, executive vice president of Red Cross Blood Services. "The Red Cross is doing everything it can to ensure blood products are available on the shelves when patients need it, but we can't do it alone," Hrouda said in a Red Cross news release. "We need eligible individuals to give blood and platelets as soon as possible." In the United States, the Red Cross is responsible for about 40 percent of the blood supply. However, roughly 37,000 fewer donors gave during November and December, the agency said. Along with the hectic holiday season, severe weather hampered donations ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Blood Transfusion, Blood Cell Transplantation

Blood Banks Face Seasonal Shortages, New Screening Rules

Posted 23 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2016 – There's typically a shortage of both blood and platelets during the holiday season. But, tighter testing for a rare complication of transfusions makes the need for platelets even more urgent, experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas say. Platelets are a component of blood that are essential for clotting. The complication, called transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI), is the leading cause of death due to transfusions, the experts said. "One reason the supply of blood platelets has decreased is that we now have additional required testing of platelets after donation," said Dr. Thomas Froehlich, medical director at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Blood and platelet shortages are traditionally common during the holidays. The shortages put cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, trauma victims and people with health issues that ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Bleeding Disorder, Anemia, Blood Transfusion, Folic Acid Deficiency, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Bleeding Associated with Coagulation Defect, Anemia Associated with Chronic Disease, Blood Cell Transplantation

Drones a Safe Way to Transport Blood: Study

Posted 9 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 – Blood products don't seem to suffer damage when transported by drones, researchers report. The findings lend support to advocates who say that drones could offer a safe, effective and fast way to deliver blood products to accident sites, natural disasters or remote locations. "My vision is that, in the future, when a first responder arrives to the scene of an accident, he or she can test the victim's blood type right on the spot and send for a drone to bring the correct blood product," study first author Dr. Timothy Amukele said in a Johns Hopkins University news release. He is an assistant professor of pathology at the university's School of Medicine in Baltimore. Amukele and his Hopkins colleagues placed large bags of blood products – the size used for transfusion – into a cooler loaded on a drone that was flown 8 to 12 miles at about 328 feet off the ground. ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Anemia, Blood Transfusion, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Blood Cell Transplantation

Another Step Closer to Artificial Blood

Posted 4 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Dec. 3, 2016 – Artificial blood stored as a powder could one day revolutionize emergency medicine and provide trauma victims a better chance of survival. Researchers have created an artificial red blood cell that effectively picks up oxygen in the lungs and delivers it to tissues throughout the body. This artificial blood can be freeze-dried, making it easier for combat medics and paramedics to keep on hand for emergencies, said senior researcher Dr. Allan Doctor. He is a critical care specialist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "It's a dried powder that looks like paprika, basically," Doctor said. "It can be stored in an IV plastic bag that a medic would carry, either in their ambulance or in a backpack, for a year or more. When they need to use it, they spike the bag with sterile water, mix it, and it's ready to inject right then and there." The ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Bleeding Disorder, Anemia, Blood Transfusion, Diagnosis and Investigation, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Blood Cell Transplantation

Pradaxa Blood Thinner May Beat Warfarin After Bleeding Episode: Study

Posted 2 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 1, 2016 – Use of a blood thinner is routine for many heart patients, but these drugs come with a risk of episodes of excess bleeding. What, if any, anticoagulant (blood thinner) should these patients take after such episodes arise? A new study suggests that the blood thinner Pradaxa (dabigatran) may be a better choice than the standby drug warfarin in these cases. The reason: Pradaxa is less likely than warfarin to cause recurrent bleeding in patients who recently suffered a bleeding stroke or other major bleeding event, the researchers found. "Our results should encourage clinicians to seriously consider resuming anticoagulation among patients who survived a major bleeding event, particularly if the source of bleeding was identified and addressed," said study senior author Dr. Samir Saba. He's associate chief of cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh Heart and ... Read more

Related support groups: Bleeding Disorder, Warfarin, Coumadin, Ischemic Stroke, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Eliquis, Lovenox, Transient Ischemic Attack, Heparin, Rivaroxaban, Apixaban, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Enoxaparin, Fragmin, Clexane, Arixtra, Intracranial Hemorrhage, Hep-Pak, Jantoven

U.S. Should Reinforce Blood Supply: Report

Posted 28 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 – The U.S. blood supply system faces financial and other challenges that could lead to blood shortages in the future, a new report contends. For now, however, the system continues to function well, the researchers said. In 2013, more than 14 million units of blood were collected from about 15.2 million people, and 13.2 million units were transfused. But, increased federal government oversight of the blood system may be required to ensure an adequate blood supply and prevent blood shortages, according to the report from the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. "The U.S. blood system operates effectively, but it is in a state of flux and uncertainty," Andrew Mulcahy, the report's lead author, said in a RAND news release. "Financial pressures, changes in health care practice and technology, and the emergence of external threats such as the Zika virus ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Blood Transfusion, Blood Cell Transplantation

Old Blood as Good as New for Transfusions, Study Finds

Posted 24 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 24, 2016 – Using the freshest blood for transfusions does not appear to boost patient survival, a new Canadian study indicates. "It's been a contentious issue, but our study finally puts an end to the question about whether stored blood could be harmful and fresher blood would be better," said lead author Nancy Heddle. She is a professor emeritus of medicine at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario. "Our study provides strong evidence that transfusion of fresh blood does not improve patient outcomes, and this should reassure clinicians that fresher is not better," added Heddle, who is also research director of the McMaster Centre for Transfusion Research. In the study, the researchers examined data from nearly 31,500 patients at six hospitals in the United States, Canada, Israel and Australia who received blood transfusions. The in-hospital death rate was 9.1 percent ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Transfusion, Blood Cell Transplantation

FDA Recommends All Blood Donations Be Tested for Zika

Posted 26 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 26, 2016 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended on Friday that the nation's entire blood supply be routinely screened for the Zika virus. In February, the FDA recommended testing of donated blood and blood components only in areas where Zika was actively spreading, but agency officials now say that universal testing is needed to further protect those who get donated blood. "There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission," Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. "At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion," Marks added. Donated blood is already being tested in Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as in other areas, FDA officials ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Emergency Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Postcoital Contraception, Blood Transfusion, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Blood Cell Transplantation

Doctors Report Probable Zika Transmission Via Blood Transfusion

Posted 18 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17, 2016 – Experts have wondered if the Zika virus might sometimes be transmitted through blood transfusions, and a cluster of infections in Brazil seems to support that notion. Doctors believe that a blood donor passed along the typically mosquito-borne virus in late January to two hospitalized patients who needed transfusions. "These data show evidence for Zika virus transmission by means of [blood] platelet transfusion," reported a team led by Dr. Iara Motta, of the Jose Alencar Gomes da Silva National Cancer Institute in Rio de Janeiro, and Bryan Spencer of the American Red Cross in Dedham, Mass. According to the researchers, the donor alerted the local blood bank of symptoms – rash, eye pain and joint pain – that had developed two days after donation. Lab tests confirmed that the blood was contaminated with Zika virus. In the meantime, the blood had been ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Blood Transfusion, Insect Bites, Zika Virus Infection, Blood Cell Transplantation

Roll Up Your Sleeves: Red Cross Says Blood Need 'Urgent'

Posted 26 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 26, 2016 – The American Red Cross says it has an urgent need for blood donations, with less than a five-day supply of blood on hand to help those who need it. "The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives," Nick Gehrig, communications director for Red Cross Blood Services, said in a news release. The organization noted it first alerted Americans to the need for blood and platelet donations back in early July. And while donation levels did rise, "a critical blood shortage remains," the group said. "At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply," the Red Cross explained. Right now, the national supply has dipped below the five-day level the Red Cross says it needs to make sure it's ready for ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Anemia, Blood Transfusion, Anemia Associated with Chronic Disease, Blood Cell Transplantation

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