Blood donated by an individual for his or her exclusive use at a later stage is referred to as an autologous or self-donation. The primary advantage of autologous donations is simple: your own blood is an exact blood match with no cross matching issues.
Individuals preparing for elective surgery are primary candidates for autologous donations. In this case, the individual's physician must sign a request for the autologous donation procedure, which may allow the person to donate as frequently as every two weeks. The donated blood will then be stored in liquid form and be delivered to the hospital for use during the patient's surgery. It is usually considered better and safer than receiving someone else's blood. (Blood intended for use by someone other than the donor is known as "homologous.")
There are three types of autologous blood donations.
An intra-operative salvage occurs when the surgeon uses a device called a cell saver during the operation. The cell saver collects blood that is lost during the surgery, in order for the patient to receive it later.
A postoperative cell salvage is done usually after the patient leaves the operating room. During some surgical procedures, there can be an accumulation of blood in the body, which can be collected and returned to the patient via transfusion.
The third type of procedure is the most common. Known as a preoperative autologous blood donation (PABD), it allows the patient to begin donating blood about six weeks prior to his surgery. This type of blood collection must stop three days prior to the surgery.Preoperative autologous collections are most beneficial to those patients who are undergoing procedures with substantial anticipated blood loss, such as orthopedic joint replacement, vascular surgery, cardiac or thoracic surgery, and radical prostatectomy.
Patients must usually go to a blood bank for a preoperative autologous blood donation, Vital signs will be taken — such as the patient's temperature, pulse, and blood pressure — to ensure that the patient is healthy enough for blood donation. The patient will also need to provide his complete medical history, as well as undergo a fingerstick blood test to check for anemia. Since the patient will be receiving his own blood, having medications in the bloodstream is not usually a factor in autologous blood donation eligibility. If deemed necessary, the patient may be prescribed iron pills to help boost the red blood cell count prior to surgery. Sometimes autologus blood donation is a must for people having very rare blood groups.
By donating an autologous blood unit, you:
Eliminate the risk of acquiring infectious diseases from blood transfusions.
Though blood from strangers, family, and friends are all screened and tested to minimize any risk of transmitting infectious disease, autologous donation remains the only way to eliminate the risks.
Also, by using your own blood you don't reduce the community blood supply and you leave it for people who may need it.