General Information

Perioperative Blood Management Symposium: Fairmont Resort and Spa, Blue Mountains
JULY 22 to 23, 2022

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If you have an impending procedure and believe that you may require a therapy that we offer we would be more than happy to take your call and provide you with the necessary advice and information to put your mind at rest. 

Some of our services can be requested by the patient especially for elective and semi-urgent procedures. Due to this fact we believe that it is tremendously important to provide you with information to enable you to make an informed choice. 

Any patient having a major surgical procedure could be at risk of requiring a blood transfusion. This is not a reflection of the skills of your surgical team. They will do whatever they can to reduce the risk of needing someone else's blood. However sometimes this is just not possible.




What is Autotransfusion? 

During surgery, a patient can lose a significant amount of blood and this blood may have to be replaced. It can be replaced with donated blood (banked blood), or a patient’s own through a process called Autotransfusion. 

Autotransfusion is the result of a process referred to as Intraoperative Cell Salvage (ICS), whereby a patients blood lost during surgery is processed, cleaned and then the washed red blood cells are given back to the patient. The overall aim is to reduce or completely eliminate the need for donor blood transfusions. 

We will work with your surgical team to do everything we can to maximise the amount of your own blood that we can collect. However, the blood we collect has been in contact with tissue and so cannot be given straight back to you. We process the blood in a way that concentrates the oxygen carrying red cells, and removes all the contamination. The procedure takes place in the operating theatre during your surgery, so there is no chance of any errors associated with receiving the wrong blood back. 


Why you should avoid a donor blood transfusion?

Donor blood, also referred to as “blood banked” or “Allogenic blood”, is blood from one or more donors to another recipient. Donor blood can be life saving, but is an imperfect substitute for a patients own blood also referred to as "Autologous blood". 

Receiving Allogenic/Donor blood has more complications & risks than when a patient receives Autologous/their own blood. 

Potential disadvantages and risks associated with receiving a Donor (Allogenic) blood transfusions: 

  • The greatest risk is receiving donor blood that was meant for someone else.  
    • By receiving your own blood through ICS this risk is avoided completely. 
    • ICS is done numerous times, every day around the world and when done by specialist experienced Autotransfusionists the risk is negligible.  
  • Donor blood is not fresh blood and due to the storage process the functionality is less than that of fresh blood.
    • When you get your own blood back, it is fresh and fully functioning.  
  • Donor blood is foreign and even though many steps are taken to ensure the correct blood type is given, your immune system may still react adversely.  
    • Your own blood is obviously not foreign and the risk of a post-operative infection is also reduced.  
    • No risk of allergic or immune reaction  
    • Risk of immunosuppression from donor blood is avoided  
  • The risk of infection from donor blood is a known concern.  
    • Receiving your own blood reduces the risk of foreign infection.  
  •  Receiving Donor blood is less cost effective  
    • Receiving you own blood reduces the length of hospital stay compared to when Donor blood is received and is thus more cost effective. 


Also a Note to all blood donors:  

  • If you are given a donor blood transfusion, you can never donate blood again. 
    • When you receive your own blood back you may be able to recommence donating once you have recovered, with no contraindication.

(It is important to contact the Blood Service authority to find out more, as the reason for surgery and the surgery itself may influence future donation).  


In summary the advantages of ICS and Autologous blood transfusion include:  

  • Clean, washed and fully functioning red cells that get to work immediately  
  • Avoidance of the major risks of a donor blood transfusion  
  • Enhanced post-operative recovery  
  • Reduced length of hospital stay & thus reduced costs 


When can Autotransfusion be used? 

Autotransfusion is a common practice for many procedures. As hospitals practice better blood management, Autotransfusion is becoming more widely used. 

Autotransfusion can be utilized in many other surgical procedures including: 

  • Cardiac Surgery 
  • Thoracic Surgery 
  • Vascular Surgery 
  • Orthopaedic Surgery 
  • Paediatric Surgery 
  • Gynaecological Surgery 
  • Obstetric Surgery 
  • Neurosurgery 
  • Urological Surgery 
  • Trauma Surgery 
  • General Surgery 

Unfortunately, not everyone and not every procedure is suitable for ICS and Autotransfusion, but the team at ABM, together with the multidisciplinary team managing your condition, will be able to discuss the options with you and help you make an informed decision.


Who does ICS and Autotransfusion? 

Some hospitals use nursing or other staff to perform Autotransfusion. 

However,  dedicated specialists are often used to oversee the Autotransfusion process to ensure quality and compliance to regulations. 

Australian Blood Management  is a proven leader in Autotransfusion. Our Technicians have performed numerous Autotransfusion procedures with proven results. 

Ask your doctor or hospital if they use autotransfusion. If not, they may benefit from consulting with Australian Blood Management.  Our aim is to improve the quality of life and recovery time for patients.


How does ICS and Autotransfusion work? 

As bleeding starts to occur, instead of the blood being lost and discarded, it is collected through a specialised suction tube into a sterile reservoir. The collected blood is then filtered, spun in a centrifuge and washed to separate the Red Blood Cells from contaminants and debris. The washed blood can now be safely returned to the patient through an IV line as is done conventionally.