Autologous Blood Transfusion
Blood transfusion is a medical procedure in which blood or blood products are transferred from one person to another. The blood used for transfusion may come from a donor or from the recipient themselves, in the case of autologous blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are commonly used to treat a variety of medical conditions that result in a loss or decrease in the number of blood cells or components, such as anemia, cancer, surgery, trauma, or bleeding disorders. The transfused blood can contain red blood cells, platelets, plasma, or other blood components, depending on the patient’s needs. Blood transfusions are typically administered in a hospital setting and are closely monitored for any adverse reactions or complications. It is important to ensure the safety and compatibility of the blood transfusion to prevent transfusion reactions, infections, or other complications.
Autologous blood transfusion refers to a medical procedure where a patient’s own blood is collected, processed, and later re-infused back into their body during a surgical or medical procedure. This is in contrast to allogeneic blood transfusion, where blood from a donor is transfused into the patient. Autologous blood transfusion is a way to reduce the need for allogeneic blood transfusion, which carries the risk of blood-borne infections, transfusion reactions, and other complications. Autologous blood transfusion can be performed using different techniques, such as preoperative blood donation, intraoperative blood salvage, or postoperative blood salvage, depending on the patient’s needs and medical condition.
Types of Autologous Blood Transfusion
There are three types of autologous blood transfusion, each of which involves different techniques and is suitable for different medical conditions:
- Preoperative Autologous Blood Donation: This involves the collection of a patient’s own blood before a scheduled surgical procedure. The collected blood is stored and later transfused back to the patient during or after surgery. This method is typically used for elective surgeries with a high risk of blood loss, such as orthopedic surgeries, cardiac surgeries, or organ transplants.
- Intraoperative Blood Salvage: This involves the collection and reinfusion of a patient’s own blood lost during a surgical procedure. The blood is collected using a special machine that filters and cleans the blood before it is returned to the patient’s body. This method is commonly used for surgeries with a high risk of blood loss, such as cardiac surgeries, spinal surgeries, or trauma surgeries.
- Postoperative Blood Salvage: This involves the collection and reinfusion of a patient’s own blood lost after a surgical procedure. The blood is collected using drainage tubes and stored in a special container. The collected blood is later transfused back to the patient as needed. This method is typically used for surgeries with a low to moderate risk of blood loss, such as joint replacement surgeries, plastic surgeries, or urological surgeries.
Advantages of Autologous Blood Transfusion
There are several advantages of autologous blood transfusion, including:
- Reduced Risk of Transfusion Reactions: Since the blood being transfused is the patient’s own blood, there is no risk of transfusion reactions caused by incompatibility or mismatched blood types.
- Reduced Risk of Infections: Autologous blood transfusion eliminates the risk of blood-borne infections that can occur with allogeneic blood transfusion, such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other viral or bacterial infections.
- Reduced Need for Allogeneic Blood Transfusion: By using the patient’s own blood, the need for allogeneic blood transfusion can be reduced, which can help conserve the limited supply of donated blood and reduce the risk of transfusion-related complications.
- Improved Recovery Time: By reducing the need for allogeneic blood transfusion, autologous blood transfusion can reduce the risk of complications and speed up recovery time, allowing patients to leave the hospital sooner and resume their normal activities faster.
- Cost-Effective: Autologous blood transfusion can be more cost-effective than allogeneic blood transfusion since it eliminates the need for expensive blood screening and processing, and reduces the risk of transfusion-related complications that can increase healthcare costs.
- Psychological Comfort: Patients may feel more comfortable and confident knowing that they are receiving their own blood, which can help reduce anxiety and stress related to the transfusion.
Risks and Complications of Autologous Blood Transfusion
While autologous blood transfusion is generally considered safe, there are some risks and complications associated with the procedure. These include:
- Infection: There is a small risk of infection associated with the collection, processing, and storage of the patient’s own blood.
- Blood Loss: If the patient does not donate enough blood or experiences excessive blood loss during the surgery, there may not be enough blood available for transfusion.
- Transfusion Reactions: Although rare, transfusion reactions can occur with autologous blood transfusion, such as fever, chills, allergic reactions, or hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells).
- Human Error: Mistakes can occur during the collection, processing, and transfusion of autologous blood, which can lead to adverse events or complications.
- Delay in Treatment: Autologous blood transfusion requires advance planning and preparation, which may delay the start of the surgery or medical procedure.
- Failure of the Technique: In some cases, the collected blood may not be suitable for transfusion due to hemolysis, contamination or other issues, which may require the use of allogeneic blood transfusion.
Patient Eligibility for Autologous Blood Transfusion
Not all patients are eligible for autologous blood transfusion, and the decision to use this procedure depends on several factors, including the patient’s medical history, current health status, and the type of surgery or medical procedure they will undergo. Generally, patients who meet the following criteria may be eligible for autologous blood transfusion:
- The patient is scheduled for elective surgery that is associated with a high risk of blood loss, such as orthopedic surgery, cardiac surgery, or organ transplantation.
- The patient has a good health status and no medical conditions that would prevent them from donating blood, such as anemia, low hemoglobin levels, or infectious diseases.
- The patient’s estimated blood loss during surgery exceeds the minimum volume required for autologous blood transfusion (usually 1-2 units of blood).
- The patient is willing and able to donate blood and follow the instructions for blood donation and preparation.
So what have we Learned?
Autologous blood transfusion is a procedure where a patient donates their own blood prior to a surgery or medical procedure and then receives that same blood back during the procedure. This technique has several advantages, including a reduced risk of transfusion reactions and infections, reduced need for allogeneic blood transfusions, improved recovery time, and cost-effectiveness. However, there are also risks and complications associated with this procedure, such as infection, blood loss, transfusion reactions, and human error. Not all patients are eligible for autologous blood transfusion, and the decision to use this technique depends on several factors, including the patient’s medical history, current health status, and the type of surgery or medical procedure they will undergo. Overall, autologous blood transfusion can be a safe and effective way to reduce the need for allogeneic blood transfusions and improve patient outcomes, but it requires careful planning and management to ensure its safety and effectiveness.
References - https://www.transfusionguidelines.org/transfusion-handbook/6-alternatives-and-adjuncts-to-blood-transfusion/6-1-autologous-blood-transfusion-collection-and-reinfusion-of-the-patient-s-own-red-blood-cells - https://www.britannica.com/science/autologous-transfusion - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889853721004351