When You Need a Transfusion
Who Can Store Their Own Blood for Surgery?
Although the use of autologous blood will reduce the risk of some adverse effects related to transfusion, it won’t entirely eliminate them; there’s a chance that bacterial contamination could occur. The risk of an incompatible unit being transfused because the wrong unit is given to the wrong patient in error is not eliminated with autologous transfusion; the risk of these problems is the same for all types of transfusions, both autologous and non-autologous.
To arrange for autologous transfusion, your physician will contact the Blood Center to request that your blood be collected for storage prior to surgery. After consulting with your physician, a Blood Center representative contacts you to schedule the collection procedure.
Autologous collection of blood begins about four weeks before a scheduled surgery because red blood cells can be stored for only 42 days. For optimal patient benefit, collections should begin at least 10 to 14 days prior to scheduled surgery. One unit (pint) is taken at each collection. Your physician will determine how many units are stored, depending on anticipated need.
Collection of autologous blood units is a medical service performed for your direct benefit; it is not comparable to voluntary donation for general community use. If you do not require the blood you have stored, it will be discarded. The Blood Center charges a fee for collecting, testing and processing your blood, regardless of whether or not you use the blood. Not all medical insurance providers cover the cost of autologous units.
In certain cases, children may make autologous blood donations. Your physician can tell you if this procedure is suitable for your child.
For more information about autologous transfusion:
Transfusion: What You Should Know
If you have questions contact your physician, or call the Puget Sound Blood Center Transfusion Information Line, at 206-292-1840.