Almost 150 years after the first autologous blood transfusion was reported, intraoperative blood salvage has become an important method of blood conservation. The primary goal of autologous transfusion is to reduce or avoid allogeneic red blood cell transfusion and the associated risks and costs. Autologous salvaged blood does not result in immunological challenge and its consequences, provides a higher quality red blood cell that has not been subjected to the adverse effects of blood storage, and can be more cost-effective than allogeneic blood when used for carefully selected surgical patients. Cardiac, orthopaedic and vascular surgery procedures with large anticipated blood loss can clearly benefit from the use of cell salvage. There are safety concerns in cases with gross bacterial contamination. There are theoretical safety concerns in obstetrical and cancer surgery; however, careful cell washing as well as leucoreduction filters makes for a safer autologous transfusion in these circumstances. Further studies are needed to determine whether oncologic outcomes are impacted by transfusing salvaged blood during cancer surgery. In this new era of patient blood management, where multimodal methods of reducing dependence on allogeneic blood are becoming commonplace, autologous blood salvage remains a valuable tool for perioperative blood conservation. Future studies will be needed to best determine how and when cell salvage should be utilized along with newer blood conservation measures.
- cell salvage
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