“A person needs lifesaving blood every two seconds in our country — and its availability can be the difference between life and death, however, blood is only available thanks to the generosity of those who roll up a sleeve to donate,” Dr. Pampee Young, Chief Medical Officer of the Red Cross, said in a statement [1]. In January 2024, the American Red Cross issued a first ever national blood crisis emergency press release [2] where they stated that blood donations are at a 20-year low “One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty refrigerator without any blood products,” added Dr Young.

One unit of blood, equivalent to about a pint, is typically collected during a donation, and experts estimate that a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.[3] “In more extreme situations,” said Eric Gehrie, Executive Medical Director for the American Red Cross,  shortages may result in “cancellation of surgeries,” including heart surgeries when hospitals and doctors don’t believe they have enough blood to safely operate [3].  Some patients are having their elective surgeries rescheduled or cancelled due to a shortage of blood [4]. The patients are sometimes encouraged to secure their own blood supply from a donation by a relative or friend.  In this context an old college days acronym takes on a new meaning, BYOB now means “Bring Your Own Blood”. 

Over 300,000 blood donors have been lost during the COVID pandemic.  The number of blood donors has not recovered to previous levels due to a number of factors.  First of all some donors are still concerned about contracting COVID in a blood donation setting, while other donors have just not returned to their normal blood donation habits after a nearly a two year interruption.  Corporate blood donation programs have also been severely curtailed or cancelled due the large number of workers who continue to work at home.  “From a personal experience, as someone who has worked in the transfusion medicine field for many years, the current situation with the blood supply is the most concerning I have seen in my career,” said Dr. Claudia Cohn, Chief Medical Officer of the American Association of Blood Banks [5].

The solution to this national blood shortage crisis requires actions on several fronts.  Firstly, new approaches and incentives are needed to recover the lost donors during the pandemic and restore the national blood blank above crisis levels.  New incentives, such as gift cards, are being offered to blood donors.  The American Red Cross has instituted an all-new Blood Donor Rewards Program.  Corporations are incentivizing their employees to donate blood, including those who work from home.  A continual blood supply is critical as blood cannot be manufactured, and certain critical blood components such as red blood cells must be used within 42 days and platelets must be used within only 5 days.

Along another critical axis, several major hospitals and trauma centers are also looking a new technology to limit blood loss.  A next generation of hemostatic agents is being shown to dramatically lower blood loss in trauma settings.  One groundbreaking study was recently reported at the annual fall meeting of SABM (Society for the Advancement of Patient Blood Management-2023)) [6]. This study showed a 53% reduction in Inter-Op blood usage through use of the advanced hemostat BloodSTOP iX Trauma Matrix Hemostat.  This novel material is a natural plant based etherified carboxymethyl cellulose (eCMC).  This result was achieved by analyzing 5 years of trauma data, 2 prior to the use of BloodSTOP iX and 4 years after adoption.  This result was shown to be statically significant (p<0.02) in spite of the BloodSTOP iX  Trauma Matrix Hemostatic Dressing group having nearly double the NISS and ISS scores (Injury Severity Index).  Time to closure of the abdomen and the ICU LOS (length of stay) were also demonstrated to be reduced.  In addition, another research group from UMC El Paso recently reported a >55% reduction in blood usage in their own study [7].  Both groups continue to collect additional data, but other trauma centers have already expressed interest in multi-center, multi-surgeon useage to further demonstrate the significant impact of this novel hemostatic agent in reducing blood utilization in their trauma centers. 


The American Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis, citing the lowest levels of blood donations in 20 years.  Americans rely on life saving blood products every two seconds.  In addition to new ideas and incentives to increase blood donations back to prior historical levels, hospitals and trauma centers are investigating new advanced hemostatic agents such as BloodSTOP iX Trauma Matrix Hemostatic Dressing in order to significantly decrease blood loss and utilization.  Two separate studies have demonstrated that by use of this novel plant-based hemostat, that blood utilization is decreased by >53% in trauma surgery.  Other key metrics such as time to abdomen closure and ICU LOS are also reduced.  BloodSTOP iX Trauma Matrix Hemostatic Dressing has also been found to be the only technology in the marketplace that achieved 100% survival rate on extremity arterial hemorrhage using U.S. military standard trauma injury protocol in a swine model providing an ideal solution for trauma injury.8 With advancements like BloodSTOP iX Trauma Matrix Hemostatic Dressing, there’s hope for a future where trauma care is more time efficient, cost-effective, and ultimately, life-saving for those in critical need.

Save blood, save costs, save lives.

    • S. Poulakidas et. al., “Use of a Novel Hemostatic Agent (eCMC) in Control of Traumatic Bleeding in Damage Control Surgery”.  SABM (Society for Advancement of Patient Blood Management) National Meeting,  Nashville, TN, October 2023. 
    • B. Rey et. al., “Patient Blood Management & Transfusion Reduction in Orthopedic Surgery”.  8th International Trauma Congress, Dubai, U.A.E., February 2024. 
    • Li H, Wang L, Alwaal A et al. Comparison of Topical Hemostatic Agents in a Swine Model of Extremity Arterial Hemorrhage: BloodSTOP iX Battle Matrix vs. QuikClot Combat Gauze. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;17(4):545. doi:10.3390/ijms17040545