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Replacement of blood loss during surgery with the patient's own blood—certainly not a new idea— currently is attracting increased attention from anesthesiologists and surgeons.
Why the second look? First, autotransfusion gives the patient the best blood product he can use: his own. Second, use of autologous blood reduces demand on local and national blood reserves.
Several reports on intraoperative autotransfusion were presented at the recent Chicago meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
Eric Furman, MB, BCh, of the Department of Anesthesiology, Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center and the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, employs the hemodilution technique of autotransfusion. A predetermined amount of blood is withdrawn from the patient at the time of surgery and replaced with an electrolyte solution. When surgery is completed, the blood is returned. An intravenously administered diuretic promotes the elimination of the electrolyte solution.
The procedure is indicated, Furman states, in
Annexton M. Autotransfusion for surgery: A comeback? JAMA. 1978;240(25):2710–2711. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290250014002
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