National Blood Data Resource Center Reports Increasing Demand for Blood in the United States  

Bethesda, MD - May 10, 2001 -- The National Blood Data Resource Center (NBDRC) reports that the margin between the supply of donated blood and the demand for blood for transfusion shrank substantially over the last decade.This analysis of the trends in blood collection and usage is presented in the recently released Comprehensive Report on Blood Collection and Transfusion in the United States in 1999.

“Although the supply of whole blood and red blood cells was sufficient to meet the overall transfusion demand in 1999, there is cause for concern regarding the future adequacy of the nation’s blood supply,” said Marian Sullivan, MS, MPH, executive director of the NBDRC. The number of units of allogeneic whole blood and red blood cells transfused by hospitals in 1999 was 12,022,000, an increase of 8.3% in comparison with 1997. Allogeneic units are those that are donated for transfusion to a person other than the donor. 

In 1989, the margin was 1,870,000 units, or 13.8% of the supply. In 1999, the NBDRC measured a difference of 1,203,000 units between supply and demand, a margin of 9.1%. This marks a decline of 35.7% in the margin between allogeneic collections and transfusions over the decade 1989-99. 

The blood transfusion rate has been increasing since 1994, due in part to an increase in organ transplants and other blood-intensive procedures. According to the NBDRC report, if the demand for red cells continues to increase in the short term at the same rate as that measured between 1997 and 1999, it is projected that an additional 1.1 million units of blood will be required to meet the demands of 2001, and to avoid further reduction of the margin.

“The results from the NBDRC are extremely important,” said Harvey G. Klein, MD, president of the American Association of Blood Banks. “These data represent the only source of reliable national information regarding blood collection and transfusion. Clearly blood transfusion is increasing. It is critical that we continue to support the NBDRC in its efforts to track these national trends, determine how blood is being used, and take appropriate action to assure that our blood supply meets the medical needs of our patients.”

The detailed report summarizes the results of a nationwide survey conducted by the NBDRC last year. The survey was completed by more than 2,000 hospitals and blood centers. For additional information regarding the Comprehensive Report on Blood Collection and Transfusion in the United States in 1999, please contact the National Blood Data Resource Center at 301-215-6506 or visit their Web site at


The National Blood Data Resource Center (NBDRC) is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, conceived and founded by the American Association of Blood Banks The NBDRC collects, analyzes and distributes data on all aspects of blood banking; transfusion medicine; hematopoietic, cellular and gene therapies; tissue transplantation and related procedures.


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