Prolonged cold storage of red blood cells by oxygen removal and additive usage. A cost-effective, 4.degree. C. storage procedure that preserves red cell quality and prolongs post-transfusion in vivo survival is described. The improved in vivo survival and the preservation of adenosine triphosphate levels, along with reduction in hemolysis and membrane vesicle production of red blood cells stored at 4.degree. C. for prolonged periods of time, is achieved by reducing the oxygen level therein at the time of storage; in particular, by flushing the cells with an inert gas, and storing them in an aqueous solution which includes adenine, dextrose, mannitol, citrate ion, and dihydrogen phosphate ion, but no sodium chloride, in an oxygen-permeable container which is located in an oxygen-free environment containing oxygen-scavenging materials.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to the liquid preservation of blood and, more particularly, to the refrigerated storage of red blood cells in the presence of additives and in the absence of oxygen. The invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to the Regents of The University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.