Autologous Transfusion and Responsibilities

This is the process I developed for HMC Doha. The Medical Director (here Head, Transfusion Medicine HTM) is actively involved in the development of policies, processes, and procedures for ALL types of autologous donation in conjunction with the National Transfusion Committee NTC.

  1. Predeposit:  Directly under the control of the HTM for all aspects:  policies, procedures, and direct performance of the procedures, including annual review of criteria
  2. Perioperative:  HTM involved in conjunction with Surgery and Anesthesia through the NTC.
  3. Intraoperative:  HTM involved in conjunction with Surgery and Anesthesia through the NTC.
  4. Postoperative:  HTM involved in conjunction with Surgery and Anesthesia through the NTC.

Background:

There are four basic types of autologous transfusion:  preoperative, perioperative hemodilution, intraoperative, and postoperative drainage/collection.  The use of all of the above techniques can significantly decrease the need for homologous blood and as an added benefit reduce the risk of the disease transmission and immunosuppressive effects of such homologous transfusions.

Preoperative collection can make available packed red blood cells, whole blood, platelets, FFP, and/or cryoprecipitate.  However, at most two units of blood per week can be collected.  RBC’s can be stored for up to 42 days in the liquid state, frozen RBC’s up to ten years, platelets up to five days, and fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate up to one year.  The last collection cannot be less than 72 hours prior to the surgery time.  Units can be collected as long as the patient’s hematocrit remains above 33%.  Supplemental iron and erythropoietin can increase the number of units harvested.  The biggest obstacle to using this service is the coordination of the patient scheduling for this procedure.  The blood bank does not have the resources to prospectively analyze the surgical scheduling and make the various appointments, contact the attending physician, etc.  Thus, this service is vastly underutilized.

PHD or Perioperative hemodilution (also called acute normovolemic hemodilution) is useful in cases when the anticipated blood loss is at least one liter and the initial hematocrit is at least 34%.  This includes essentially all types of surgery, but in particular cardiac, vascular, orthopedic, and urologic cases.  The patient’s hematocrit Hct. is lowered to the range of 20-25% and the blood is replaced by crystalloid in a ratio of 3:1–i.e. three times as much fluid as blood, or in the case of colloid replacement, a 1:1 ratio of colloid plus 0.5 to 1.0 ml. of crystalloid.  Crystalloid has the advantage of being readily removed by diuretic use.  However, this technique should not be undertaken when vascular access is inadequate or appropriate monitoring devices are lacking.  The physician performing PHD must be familiar with the compensatory mechanisms normally invoked when the hemoglobin is acutely lowered.

Another new twist to PHD is the perioperative collection of platelets by a special attachment to a cell-saving machine.  This could allow collection of a typical apheresis load, about 6 to 10 units of fresh platelets for potential use.  There are currently studies underway to determine if this has particular clinical advantages to warrant the additional cost.

Intraoperative salvage may be performed with a number of canister or automated devices.  The latter is usually used when there are large volumes (usually 3 or more units) of blood to be salvaged.  Depending on the body site, the recovered material is at least filtered and may or may not be washed.  Care must be taken to collect the blood at a low suction rate and with minimal turbulence to minimize hemolysis.

Postoperative drainage collection of certain sites such as post-knee replacement surgery or chest wounds involves a canister collection device.  This blood may or may not be filtered before reinfusion.

Note that perioperative and intraoperative material can only be transfused up to six or eight hours at room temperature or 24 hours if refrigerated at 1-6 degrees (depending on the method used) post collection to minimize the risk of infection.  Intraoperative collection is usually contraindicated in cases of cancer and if the bowel has been violated.

Other Issues:

The transfusion criteria for autologous blood is the same as for allogeneic units. If you wouldn’t transfuse if no autologous blood were available, you shouldn’t transfuse because you have it!

The same compatibility testing algorithm applies both the autologous and allogeneic units.

Policy:

  1. Scope:
    1. Predeposit collection of Whole Blood/RBCs and plasma is under the authority of Transfusion Medicine.
    2. Perioperative hemodilution, intraoperative cell salvage, and postoperative drainage collection is under the authority of the National Transfusion Committee in conjunction with the Departments of Surgery and Anesthesia.
      1. Head, Transfusion Medicine will liaise with the clinical departments as needed.
      2. Transfusion Medicine may provide blood bags for perioperative hemodilution upon request.
    3. Transfusion Medicine does not receive autologous collections—perioperative, intraoperative, or postoperative drainage collection.
  2. Processes directly under Transfusion Medicine authority:
    1. Autologous collection of whole blood/RBCs (predeposit) for elective surgeries will be considered especially if the patient has a dangerous antibody for which antigen-matched units cannot be easily obtained (e.g. anti-k (cellano), anti-PP1Pk (anti-Tja), anti-H (Bombay and Para-Bombay phenotypes).
    2. Autologous collection of plasma may be considered for patients with IgA deficiency with documented specific anti-IgA antibodies.
    3. Autologous collection of platelets may be considered for patients with anti-platelet antibodies and platelet refractoriness.
    4. Other requests will be reviewed by the Head, Transfusion Medicine or designate.
    5. The final decision to proceed with items 2.1 and 2.2 will be made by the Head, Transfusion Medicine or his designate.
  3. Process for Transfusion Medicine Autologous Procedures
    1. The requesting physician shall provide a written order to the Blood Donor Center.
    2. The request will be reviewed by a transfusion medicine physician.
    3. If rejected, the requesting physician will be notified with the reason for the rejection.
    4. If approved, the donor shall be screened by the usual donation process except:
      1. Hgb >= 11 g/dl will be acceptable for whole blood collection.
      2. Females may also donate autologous plasma.
      3. The last autologous donation will be at least 72 hours before the elective procedure.
    5. Marker testing:  Components from autologous donors with confirmed positive cases of HBV, HCV, HIV, syphilis, malaria, or HTLV infection will NOT be used for autologous donation and will be destroyed.
    6. Computer:  Autologous collections will be entered as specifically as such in the Medinfo  Hematos IIG blood bank computer system and be labeled as autologous in their corresponding ISBT labels.
    7. Crossover of autologous units requires review and approval by a transfusion medicine physician–only those cases where the donor met the standard donor criteria will be considered.
    8. The transfusion criteria for autologous units shall be the same as for homologous blood.
    9. Both autologous and allogeneic units will follow the same compatibility testing algorithm.

References:

  1. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services, 29th Edition, AABB, Bethesda, MD, USA, 2014
  2. TRM.41600 CAP Checklist Standard, 2015

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