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Artificial blood - Definition


Artificial blood, also called blood substitute, is a medical substance that remains today the subject of study and experiment. It aims to replace human blood in cases where a patient requires a blood transfusion but no compatible donors can be found. When a patient suffers from hemorrhage, administering molecules intravenously aims to compensate for a minimum of circulating fluid in order to maintain a healthy blood pressure. These molecules, however, are not able to transport oxygen, and the patient must receive a transfusion of packed red cells in order to fulfil this function. In current clinical practice, this blood must be taken from donors, for which the blood and rhesus types have to be compatible to avoid transfusion-related accidents. The challenge posed by artificial blood is to find a synthetic solution that can ensure, if not all the functions of the blood, at least the transport of oxygen.