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News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Doctors question whether all blood transfusions are effective and necessary

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 10 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:558
  1. Richard Smith
  1. Edinburgh

Evidence on the effectiveness of blood transfusion is severely lacking, and more research is needed. That was the main conclusion of a conference held last week at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

The meeting was prompted by anxiety that too many resources may be being devoted to ensuring the safety of blood. The cost of supplying blood to the United Kingdom grew from £250m ($480m; €365m) in 1995 to £500m in 2004, and the increase is due mainly to new tests and processes to reduce the risk of transmitting infection.

Participants at the conference thought that some of the tests were undoubtedly needed but were concerned that the introduction of nucleic acid testing to supplement existing …

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