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Autologous Blood transfusion is the collection and re-infusion of the patient's own Blood or Blood components. Autologous Blood donation, that is, self-donation of Blood is recommended by the American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs, and described as the safest Blood product by Blood banks themselves. Autologous Blood donation should be the transfusion therapy of choice, or at least, fully and carefully considered. The alternative, allogeneic Blood, on the other hand, is collected from a Blood donor other than the patient, often unknown, and transfused into that patient.

Although not completely risk free, autologous Blood is the safest form of Blood transfusion. Exclusive use of a patient’s own Blood eliminates reactions due to donor recipient incompatibility and precludes exposure to transfusion transmitted infection. There is a vast body of knowledge on human blood. There are literally hundreds of areas of Blood research with large sums of money invested. Even so, every year, there are discoveries rendering the standard conventions unusable, or even dangerous. Many of the antibodies in donated blood, which develop when people are exposed to diseases, may be undetectable despite intensive testing, and these can cause transfusion reactions in patients receiving the blood. While Blood bank tests greatly reduce the risks of acquiring certain infectious diseases, these risks can not be eliminated entirely. Your own blood is the safest blood for you.

This year, the United States will be short more than 250,000 of the one-pint units of Blood that Americans will need. About that same amount of Blood is imported from abroad each year to fill Americans' needs. This estimate is from the non-profit National Blood Data Resource Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Imported blood..... hmmm! Other credible estimates indicate imports of up to 20% of the total supply. Cord Blood donation and Cord Blood bank.

Over the last several years, an increased awareness of diseases transmitted by allogeneic Blood has resulted in a dramatic increase in autologous Blood transfusion. Approximately 16 million units are donated annually, and of those, about 643,000 are autologous. This number of autologous donations is growing each year. Clinical research and practice in autologous Blood use have also grown in recent years, providing new insights into the issues involved.

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Remember, we are assured that all Blood is safe. To me, 'safe' is a relative term. I know for certain that my Blood is the safest for me when I use it for myself.


Five categories of autologous transfusions are generally recognized:

Preoperative autologous Blood donation, transfusion and storage (PABD): units of Blood are drawn from a patient usually starting (in the short term case) three to five weeks before an elective surgical procedure and stored for transfusion at the time of the surgery.

Intraoperative hemodilution: Blood is collected at the start of surgery and the fluid volume lost is replaced with appropriate IV solutions, and then finally, stored Blood is reinfused after surgery.

Intraoperative Blood salvage: Blood is salvaged from the surgical area during the operation for re-infusion during or after the surgical procedure.

Postoperative Blood salvage: Blood is collected after the surgical procedure is complete by drainage of the operative area and re-infused.

Autologous self stored Blood (Blood banking): your own Blood is preserved in a frozen state for use by you or your designee at a later time, in case your need of a Blood transfusion arises. The safest Blood you can receive is your own! This process eliminates donor-transmitted diseases. If you have a rare Blood type, or if your Blood contains rare components, this process may mean the difference between life and death (and be covered by insurance). Autologous Blood is always a perfect match. It will be there when you need it..... regardless of a general Blood shortage. Not everything about Blood is known. Your Blood is unique in its composition. In addition to the groups of A, B, O and Rh types, there are as many as 100 or more sub-types. The chances of obtaining a transfusion from an unrelated stranger, where all sub-types match, is estimated to be less than 1 in 100,000. You will not form harmful antibodies or have a transfusion reaction when you receive your own blood.

Often your own Blood is a very good match for a close relative and members of your family can be cross-matched to pool the total number of units stored (see designated donation).

Click HERE to link to some quality and experienced long term Autologous Blood storage facilities and laboratories. 

The propriety of these procedures varies with the clinical situation, and with the size of your purse. They can be used alone or in combination to reduce or eliminate your need for allogeneic (volunteer donor) blood, as you desire.  


Alloimmunization - development of antibodies in response to foreign substances such as antigens, i.e. transfusion reaction.

Autotransfusion - A technique allowing the physician to have the surgical patient's own Blood collected, cleaned and transfused back during and after surgery. The risk of infection or alloimmunization is completely eliminated. In addition, autotransfused Blood carries a higher level of oxygen because it has a higher density of clean red Blood cells.

Homologous Blood Product - Blood product obtained from a donor other than the patient. The Blood is treated, refrigerated in units of approximately 500mls for future use. 

Intraoperative - Occurrences during a surgical procedure.

Perfusion - The injection of fluid into a Blood vessel in order to reach an organ or tissues, usually to supply nutrients and oxygen, or most often the re-infusing of the filtered or processed Blood of a patient during surgery.

What is Autologous Blood transfusion?

Autologous Blood transfusion allows you to donate Blood for your own use. After collection, your Blood must be clearly marked with your name and reserved for your use only. You must carefully monitor the documentation.

Who is qualified to be an Autologous Blood donor?

Those who are not anemic (starting Hemoglobin must be at least 11 grams, slightly lower than required of a regular Blood donor, i.e., 12 grams).

Those who have no medical condition that could cause problems during or after the Blood donation process.

Children weighing over 65 pounds.

Those who are having planned surgery that routinely requires a Blood transfusion (except in cases where long term storage is desired).

Those who have veins large enough for the procedure.

What is the cost to me?

The cost of Autologous Blood collection, testing, storage and distribution to the final point of use is great. Since this 'self storage' is discouraged by the 'Blood establishment,' there is no real assistance given by those best suited to help. You must look into every aspect of this process before you commit to the long term arrangements. Sometimes there is insurance assistance, but this is rare. Remember, as you consider the expense of paying for the storage of your own blood, in times of emergency, you may still require Blood from random donors. The medical facility treating you may not be able to obtain and prepare your stored Blood in time of need.

What if more Blood is required?

Should you require additional blood, then Blood specified by you will be used, and failing the adequacy of that, you, in an urgent situation, will be transfused with Blood Bank common Blood supply blood.

What are the benefits of Autologous Blood transfusion?

Availability..... in contrast with donor blood, the patient's type of Blood is instantly available and requires no cross matching.

Safety..... no risk of transfusion reactions due to incompatibility.

Purity..... no risk of transmitted disease, such as, among others, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, HTLV 1&2, & Syphilis.

Acceptance..... sometimes Blood donation is the source of fear or taboo, in others the infusion of Blood is prohibited by religion. Often autologous Blood transfusion may overcome some of these objections.

What are the most common possible side effects to donating blood?

Occasionally some people feel light headed or dizzy during or after the donation; fainting can occur.

Sometimes a bruise may appear around the place where the needle was inserted and the area may be sore to touch for some time.

You may feel fatigued for some time. If this condition persists, contact the Blood transfusion supervisor or the attending physician.

If you have not previously donated blood, it is advisable to have a responsible adult accompany you to the Blood donor center.

What are risks of donating and storing Blood for my own use? 

Although autologous transfusion is the safest possible option for some patients, it is not completely risk free. Clerical errors and the administration of the wrong unit of Blood could occur with autologous Blood as well as with allogeneic Blood (volunteer donor blood). The label on autologous Blood must be matched to the patient identification band at the time of transfusion as with any other transfusion. There is risk of mishandling, and extreme risk of loss or spoilage during transport. The autologous method has an added risk: because patients who donate their own Blood in the close weeks before surgery often do so with lower Blood counts, they may require a transfusion sooner than someone who did not donate his or her own Blood just before surgery. The ever-present risk of transfusion-related volume overload may also be increased if autologous Blood is indiscriminately transfused.

Other risks of note include, Anemia and Hypovolemia, which are the most common adverse effects of PABD. The most unusual statistic that we unearthed in the year 2000 was that approximately 1 donor in 16,000, of those making annual autologous donations, is hospitalized as a result of that Blood donation. No specific causes were stated in the statistic. Generally, the indications for transfusion of autologous Blood should not vary greatly from those for allogeneic blood.

What factors increase risk for Autologous donation?

   Pediatric Donors
- Statistics demonstrate that autologous Blood donation is safe for children from ages seven to18 years. The lower age limit is determined by the ability of the child to safely cooperate and their availability of suitable veins. The maximum amount of Blood that may be safely withdrawn at one sitting is approximately 12% of the donor's Blood volume.

   Adult Cardiac Donors - Experience with pre-operative autologous Blood donations in adult cardiac patients suggests that this technique is safe and effective in reducing homologous Blood requirements. A thorough physical examination prior to donation is recommended, and continuous EKG and Blood pressure monitoring during and after donation is prudent. The consensus of objective experts is that isovolemic autologous donation can safely be used in patients scheduled for cardiac surgery, based on the absence of subjective complaints, without objective monitoring. Exceptions are those patients with unstable angina, critical aortic stenosis, and recent myocardial infarction.

How is the donation arranged?

Once you have decided to donate Blood for your own use, your request for autologous donation must be made to a Blood collection center. The center will manage scheduling, paperwork, the donation itself and the proper labeling and storage of your blood. Someone there will make an appointment for you and will get the answers to the questions that you will have. This is the time when you must begin the process of taking accurate and complete notes of with whom you spoke, what time and date the conversation took place, exactly what was said and the result of the call.

What does Autologous Blood donation involve?

You will be required to visit the donor center several times depending on the number of units of Blood to be collected for your purposes, each visit taking about one to two hours. At each visit you will have a small sample of Blood collected from your fingertip to ascertain your hemoglobin level. Other tests may be required. You or your parent or guardian will be required to complete a donor declaration form prior to each donation.

A pre-autologous interview will be conducted at the donor center prior to your first collection. Here the procedure, donor consent, informed consent, and donor declaration forms, as well as costs and your requirements will be explained. Screening bloods will be collected and the prescription of iron and vitamin tablets will normally be discussed.

What happens to my Blood once it is collected?

Your Blood is labeled and signed by you or your parent/guardian. It is normally then witnessed by the Donor Center. The unit of Blood is then stored in a designated area for "Long Term Autologous Donation.” At the time of your donation samples of Blood will be collected for testing and certification.

Is there something often overlooked that I should remember?

Yes..... keep a written record of every name, every date and every number. Be certain of the accuracy and legibility of every one of your records. You must also have these records available to you at all times. If you do not have your notes with you, they will be of little value! The other paramount rule is to make certain that you always know the final and complete delivered costs Blood Book - END 

 Link - Guidelines for Autologous Blood Donation Link -




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   last updated 02/10/2006