Autologous blood transfusion is the collection and reinfusion of the patient's own blood or blood components. Normally blood is collected from someone other than the patient. Over the last several years, an increased awareness of diseases transmitted by allogeneic blood has resulted in a dramatic increase in autologous blood transfusion. Clinical research and practice in autologous blood use have also grown in recent years, providing new insights into the issues involved.
Despite reduction of the risk of transmitting viruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B or C (HCV),2,3 autologous blood transfusion remains safer than allogeneic blood transfusion and appropriate for properly selected patients. Exclusive or supplemental use of autologous blood can eliminate or reduce many adverse effects of transfusion. Directed donations -- blood donated by a friend or family member for a designated patient -- are not as safe as the patient's own blood and must not be considered equivalent to autologous donations.
Since most planned surgical procedures are not associated with sufficient blood loss to result in transfusion, autologous blood techniques are not appropriate for all patients. However the blood can be released for others within the purview of law. The transfusion experience of patients who have undergone similar procedures can serve as a guide. Several types of autologous transfusion can be used either alone or in combination:
Standards, guidelines, and regulations exist for patient selection as well as processing and transfusion of blood collected using autologous transfusion techniques. These should be used by each hospital's transfusion committee in establishing and monitoring autologous transfusion programs. You should discuss this subject with the Hospital or related Blood Bank should you or anyone known to you is to undergo surgical procedure.
Many Western countries practice autotransfusion routinely. In India only a few hospitals undertake the procedure. By and large we are yet to catch up with the practice. This is because we are not aware of the subject. It is high time we adapt the practice......