Autotransfusion has been with us since the earliest days of blood transfusion. The first autologous transfusion was initiated as early as by James Blundell in 1818, before the discovery of blood groups. Anglo-Saxon published an article for the first time informing about Autotransfusion in 1874. Autotransfusion is the practice of using a patient’s own blood for a transfusion, which is also termed as ‘autologous transfusion’. Autotransfusion is of 3 types. They are:
- Pre-operative blood donation
- Acute normovolemic Hermodilution
- Intra operative and post-operative blood recovery
A safer and cost-efficient way of blood transfusion
Like any other form of therapy, blood transfusion is also analyzed in terms of advantages versus drawbacks. Although, blood transfusion is considered as a favorable treatment for post-surgery blood loss, injury, diseases and bleeding disorders, it has its downsides also. It is considered as one of most commonplace medical procedures by the American Medical Association and the Joint Commission. Studies reveal that almost 60% of red blood cell transfusions are inappropriate as blood transfusions result in higher frequency of mortality and sickness, increased timeframe of staying in hospitals, hospital-acquired infections, readmissions, and other difficulties.
As an add-on to such intensified health risks, the transfusion adversely affects the reimbursements and level up the cost of both the patient and the hospital. However, autotransfusion is the most sought-for substitution for the exercise of applying the donated blood transfusions. Autotransfusion is more applicable compared to donated blood transfusions both in terms of finance and patient care. The three main ways autotransfusion outperforms donated blood transfusion are:
- A way more expensive approach of donated blood transfusion
In order to get blood donations, hospitals need to recruit volunteers. The process also requires to conduct testing, blood typing, and cross matching. The hospitals are also responsible for transporting and storing the donated blood. According to studies, each transfusion costs a hospital between $525 – $1,185 per 500ml unit of blood, or $1.6 – $6 million annually.
Donated blood also creates risks to patients which may result in organ failure, infection, or immune response. There are instances when donated blood transfusions proved fatal.
- Decreased level of fluidity and function in storage
The red blood cells and donated blood can be preserved up to 42 days. However, prolonged time in the storage reduces its applicability. Function of the red blood cell decreases over time due to hemolysis. This is the process of breaking down of the cell membrane which releases hemoglobin and other chemicals.
Moreover, the red blood cells can’t sustain their fluidity during the longer period of preservation. They stop to travel seamlessly throughout the body and start to amass in the lungs and vessels of the recipient. This shrinkage in fluidity proves dangerous as it develops acidosis in the patient. Acidosis is a health condition that causes poor lung activity or depressed breathing due to an excessive loss of bicarbonate or the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood.
- Autotransfusion reduces risk of infection and difficulties by offering fresh Red Blood cell
In the procedure of autotransfusion, the risk factor for the recipient diminishes, as the patient receives his or her own blood. There’s no requirement of compatibility testing, or to wait on units from a blood bank. As the red blood cells continue to preserve its freshness for up to eight hours after processing, they don’t have to lose their functionality or fluidity.
Autotransfusion is a swift solution when there’s an urgent need of blood. The red blood cells of the patient can be returned to him or her in just three to five minutes with the help of this process. Autotransfusion offers a reduced morbidity rate, an almost implausible immune response, a decreased risk of infection, and reduced dependability on blood bank reserves. With the successful implementation of this process, patients can experience a cost-effective treatment, and most importantly, enriched outcomes. Such advantages have made the autotransfusion devices market the most preferable across the globe in near future.