Understanding Autotransfusion

Every day, 250 highly skilled ATS clinical specialists work in operating rooms across the country to provide high-quality care and improve patient outcomes. At SpecialtyCare, Autrotransfusion is one of our longest-standing service lines. Each one of those procedures involves a patient, their family, and the community. Together, we can make an impactful difference by ensuring safer and better patient outcomes with autotransfusion. 

What Is Autotransfusion?

Autotransfusion is the process of cleaning and filtering a patient’s blood using a cell saver machine, so it can be given back to them if they need a transfusion. Autotransfusion is a safer, more cost-effective option than a standard donor blood transfusion, saving hospitals a significant amount of money every year and reducing the risk of infection and disease.

ATS clinical specialists’ primary responsibility is setting up and monitoring cell-saver equipment before, during, and after surgery. They work collaboratively with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and perfusionists to collect and process a patient’s blood. This ensures it’s clean and suitable to infuse back into the patient. 

Autotransfusion often involves various cell-saver techniques and equipment. Before any procedure, autotransfusionists ensure that they’re sterile and meet regulatory compliance standards. This includes cleaning and sterilizing equipment after use and properly disposing of contaminated or used times. Additionally, they regularly work with many healthcare professionals, so they need excellent communication skills. They also should be committed, dependable, adaptable, and flexible with keen attention to detail. The OR setting is demanding, so ATS clinical specialists must possess these critical skills to manage stressful situations and ensure they are valuable in every surgical case.

The History of Autotransfusion

1818 marked the first use of self-donated blood and it continued to gain interest until World War II. The blood supply wasn’t a huge issue during this time due to an increased number of blood donors.

Later on, autotransfusion became a topic of conversation over concerns about donor blood transfusions. Autotransfusion was used in various orthopedic, trauma, and cardiac cases and showed a reduced risk for infection and optimally functioning red blood cells, which aren’t subject to long-term storage in blood donor transfusions. 

Autotransfusions were performed throughout the Civil War, primarily for amputated limbs. ATS clinical specialists removed blood from the amputated limb and returned it to the patient by femoral injection. After proven success, the first successful use of intraoperative autotransfusion occurred in 1914, while the first recorded case in American literature was in 1917. 

Autotransfusion Support at SpecialtyCare

Blood is a valuable, expensive resource, and shortages can result in elective surgery cancellations. At SpecialtyCare, our goal is to help build an operating room of excellence and provide the best outcomes. A combination of sound, standardized processes and dedicated personal service is needed to ensure the very best in patient care and cost management.

Our evidence-based approach focuses on clinical quality, a commitment to excellence, following industry standards, and continuous improvement through the best-in-class education, training, and research. Hospitals can ensure timely care, cut costs significantly, and improve patient outcomes with our Autotransfusion services. Our highly trained autotransfusionists are on-site when needed and integrate seamlessly with hospital staff and procedures.

About SpecialtyCare

SpecialtyCare is dedicated to providing an exceptional patient experience, becoming the OR employer of choice, and leading the way in OR innovation.