Intraoperative autotransfusion refers to the sterile collection and processing of a patient’s blood that is shed during surgery, in order to salvage the healthy red blood cells for re-transfusion back into the patient.
Intraoperative autotransfusion is accomplished by the use of a cell salvage device. During surgery the surgeon uses sterile suction to collect the patient’s shed blood into a sterile collection canister. The collected blood is then centrifuged by the cell salvage device to separate the red blood cells from the plasma and platelets, then “washed” to remove everything except the patient’s healthy red blood cells. Finally, the red blood cells are filtered to remove micro-aggregates, lipids and leukocytes.
Intraoperative autotransfusion is commonly used in cardiac, vascular, orthopedic, spine, trauma, OB/GYN, oncological, and other complicated surgeries.