Using Patient's Own Blood, Safer, Cheaper

AUSTIN, Texas, July 20 (UPI) — Many U.S. hospitals have patients donate blood for themselves for elective surgery but some hospitals are using trauma patients’ own blood, a doctor says.

Study author Dr. Carlos Brown, medical director of trauma services at University Medical Center Brackenridge, says not many U.S. trauma hospitals routinely transfuse patients with their own blood, although it eliminates the risk of a reaction to donated blood or receiving tainted blood.

However, Brown’s co-author, Kalem Richards, vice president of Capital Area Perfusionists — a company that collects blood in the operating room and processes it for a trauma patient — says all of the emergency departments in Austin, Texas, use the technique, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported.

Richards says the process involves having the patient’s blood suctioned, mixed with an anti-clotting drug and spun in a centrifuge to separate out the red blood cells, which are then washed and filtered before the red blood cells are transfused back into the patient.

The researchers studied 47 patients at University Medical Center who used their own blood and 47 who got it from the blood bank for 2006-2007, and found the average cost per patient in the first group was $1,616 vs. $2,584 per patient in the blood bank group.

The findings are published in the Archives of Surgery.

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