One of the major problems confronting blood banks is the occurrence of hepatitis following blood transfusions. It has always been difficult to obtain valid statistics because the incubation period of hepatitis may be relatively long. Hence some cases are unrelated and unreported.
With the use of many blood transfusions for open-heart surgery to prime the pump oxygenator and to replace blood loss, and because of the close contact established with these patients by our Regional Blood Center, we felt that this group of surgical cases presented an ideal opportunity for the investigation of hepatitis possibly due to massive blood transfusions.
By the end of 1962, the Los Angeles-Orange Counties Red Cross Regional Blood Center had collected 2,173,156 units of blood since its inception as a civilian blood program in 1946. Table 1 depicts the yearly blood collections at the Regional Blood Center since 1954 and the number of cases of