An autotransfusion is a process that allows a patient to receive his or her own blood when in need of a transfusion, rather than someone else's blood from a blood bank. It is better for a person to receive his or her own blood because it is an ideal match. The original blood of a patient is more easily and readily received by the patient's body.
There are several ways that an autotransfusion can be accomplished. One way involves a patient making an appointment to donate his or her blood. When this is done, it is referred to as autologous blood. The patient's blood is stored away and infused back into the patient's body either during surgery or after the patient has had surgery. Blood cells are restored in the body in between blood donations.
Another way for a person to receive an autotransfusion is during surgery. When a patient is in surgery, the patient experiences blood loss; the blood must be saved, washed, and restored at the time the patient is in surgery. This process is referred to as cell saving. Cell saving is generally used in surgeries where very large quantities of blood are expected to be lost, such as when a patient has an aneurysm, a spinal surgery, or complete joint replacement surgery.
In some surgeries, there is an expectation of a small amount of blood loss. The possibility for large amounts of blood to be lost after the surgery is completed may still exist, however. Therefore, precautions such as cell saving are often taken.
An autotransfusion can also be accomplished by collecting blood from a patient's wound. The process involves gentle suctioning of the wound. When the proper amount of blood is collected, it is re-infused back into the patient's body, but only after the blood is saved, filtered, and cleaned.
The autotransfusion process aids in restoring the lost blood back into the patient's circulation system skillfully and swiftly. Although there are possible risks involved with the re-infusing of blood, autotransfusions are required to be carefully supervised to prevent such risks. The auto-reinfusion process often promotes the quick recovery of the patient, as the blood is a perfect match. The process offers many other advantages, including the reduced risk of infection and better functioning of cells.