Lack of reporting requirements for the amount of blood stored in blood banks and hospitals poses challenges to effectively monitor the US blood supply. Effective strategies to minimize collection and donation disruptions in the supply require an understanding of the daily amount of blood available in the system.

Study Design and Methods

A stock-and-flow simulation model of the US blood supply was developed to obtain estimates of the daily on-hand availability of blood, with uncertainty and by ABO/Rh type. The model simulated potential impact on supply of using different blood management practices for transfusion: first in-first out (FIFO), using the oldest stored red blood cell units first; non-FIFO likely oldest, preferentially selecting older blood; and non-FIFO likely newest, preferentially selecting younger blood.


Simulation results showed higher estimates of the steady-state of the blood supply level for FIFO (1,630,000 units, 95% prediction interval [PI] 1,610,000-1,650,000) than non-FIFO scenarios (likely oldest, 1,530,000 units, 95% PI 1,500,000-1,550,000; and likely newest, 1,190,000 units, 95% PI 1,160,000-1,220,000), either for overall blood or by blood types.


To our knowledge, this model represents a first attempt to evaluate the impact of different blood management practices on daily availability and distribution of blood in the US blood supply. The average storage time before blood is being issued was influenced by blood management practices, for preferences of blood that is younger and also that use specific blood types. The model also suggests which practice could best approximate the current blood management system and may serve as useful tool for blood management.