MANY the more frequently performed surgical procedures for malignant disease of the head and neck require blood transfusion.1
Homologous blood transfusion carries with it the well-known hazards of homologous serum jaundice and transfusion reactions. Under certain circumstances, compatible blood may be difficult to obtain. The most desirable blood for transfusion would be that of the patient himself. Recently, such autologous blood transfusions (autotransfusions) have been used in elective orthopedic,2 cardiovascular,3 and thoracic surgery.4
The modern technique of combined preoperative irradiation followed by surgery for malignant lesions of the head and neck offers a unique opportunity to utilize autologous transfusions.5-7 These patients are treated with several thousand rads of well-collimated cobalt60 teletherapy over a period of one to three weeks, followed by a variable waiting period (three to six weeks); and then surgery.
Autotransfusion has been used since 1964 by the departments of cardiovascular surgery,
Sands CJ, Wood RP, Van Schoonhoven PV. Autologous Blood Transfusions in Head and Neck Surgery. Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;88(4):423–425. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00770010425016
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