Regimens: Finding a Way to Save Money and Blood
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Published: July 26, 2010
Hospitals that capture the blood patients lose during emergency internal surgery and infuse it back into patients instead of using banked blood can cut the number of blood products used by half, and reduce costs, a study reports.
Use of a patient’s own blood, called an autologous blood transfusion, also reduces the risk of infections and other complications associated with donor blood, the authors said in their paper, published in this month’s Archives of Surgery.
The overall cost of blood transfusions was $1,616 on average for patients who received autologous transfusions, compared with $2,584 for patients who only received blood bank products, because patients reinfused with their own blood required only half as many units of banked blood as the other patients, the study reports.
Cost estimates included the added cost of collecting a patient’s blood during surgery, which involves suctioning up blood from internal bleeding, collecting it in a sterile container and putting it through a process that separates and concentrates the red blood cells, which are then suspended in saline and reinfused into the patient.
“This is safe and cost-effective, and we should be using it more often,” said Dr. Carlos V.R. Brown, chief of trauma and University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, Tex. and the paper’s lead author.