Red blood cells (RBC) were collected with citrate-phosphate-dextrose (CPD) in a blood-pack optimal additive system. After concentration to 90% hematocrit they were diluted with saline-adenine-glucose medium (SAG-RBC), and stored for 35 days. In this work the RBC were stored in the presence of leukocytes. The SAG medium allows RBC conservation during 35 days at +4 degrees C. The adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level of RBC is compatible with their survival. During the first 2 weeks, hemolysis of SAG-RBC was not greater than in CPD blood. Nevertheless, hemolysis reached 1.49% on day 35, and there was a marked increase in RBC osmotic fragility. Scanning electron-microscopic studies of 35-day RBC showed that the majority of them became echinocytes. After incubation in fresh frozen plasma, the RBC recovered satisfactory osmotic resistance and normal disc shape. The post-transfusion viability was normal with greater than 70% recovery after 48 h. The in vivo restoration of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) was rapid in the transfused SAG-RBC, 50% of the initial 2,3-DPG level being restored in 1 h. The in vivo studies proved that the functional quality of these RBC was compatible with their use in transfusion. The most important problem concerns the supernatant hemoglobin level of the SAG-RBC to be used for massive transfusion.