Autologous Donation

What is it?

This is called an autologous blood donation (donation for yourself). It is stored (for up to 42 days) and then if you need blood during or after your surgery, the blood you donated before your surgery will be given back to you.

Your physician must make arrangements with Canadian Blood Services in four to six weeks in advance of your surgery date in order for you to make your own blood donation. This blood is marked only for your use.

How is it given?

Before your surgery, you will be asked to donate some of your own blood. This will then be stored and if you need it, it will be given to you through a tube, directly into your blood during or after your surgery. If you do not need the blood then it will be destroyed. It will not be used for anyone but you.

It will not be used by any other patient if you do not require a transfusion. Using autologous blood can eliminate the risk of transmissible disease or antibody production to donor blood. If you require more blood than you donated, you may have to receive blood from other donors. Please discuss this with your doctor.

What are the benefits?

It is used for the same reasons as a packed red blood cell transfusion; to avoid anemia or replace lost blood. The benefits are also similar to the benefits of packed red blood cell transfusions, such as a lower risk of developing anemia. Another benefit of autologous donation is that you have fewer risks than with packed red blood cell transfusions.

What are the risks or side effects?

There are risks similar to those of getting a packed red blood cell transfusion except that the blood type you get will always match and the risk of getting a virus (HIV, Hepatitis B and C, West Nile, HTLV) and allergic reaction is less likely. However, there is a risk that if more blood is needed than was donated before the surgery, a transfusion of packed red blood cells may be given to you.