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Oxygen carriers as alternatives to red blood cell transfusion

Joy L Fridey, MD
Section Editor
Arthur J Silvergleid, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD


Alternatives to red blood cell transfusion have been long-anticipated and sought-after developments in biotechnology and medicine. It is generally understood that a manufactured substance cannot carry out the numerous and complex functions of blood, but terms such as "artificial blood" or "blood substitutes" remain popular with the media and the public. Research efforts have been directed toward products that perform the oxygen-carrying and other transport functions of red blood cells. These products are referred to as oxygen carriers (OCs) or oxygen therapeutics (OTs).

This article will provide historical and clinical background and updates on the status of ongoing clinical protocols [1-3].

Red blood cell transfusion and other aspects of tissue oxygen delivery are discussed separately.

Indications for transfusion (newborns) – (See "Red blood cell transfusions in the newborn".)

Indications for transfusion (infants and children) – (See "Red blood cell transfusion in infants and children: Indications".)

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: May 18, 2017.
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