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Blood Transfusion and Conservation - Autologous

What is Autologous Blood?
This your own blood that is stored in a refrigerator and used for transfusion, if necessary, at the time of surgery.

Advantages of Using Your Own Blood

  • You have no risk of being infected by contaminated blood.
  • You will not become immune to other blood types. When you receive blood from someone else, you may become immune to other blood types leading to risks or dificulties in future transfusions if required.
  • You won't have possible allergic or other immune reactions.
  • Possibility of a slightly lower risk of complications after surgery if your own blood is used.

Who is eligible?
Most people who plan to have major elective surgery are eligible. The medical staff at the Blood Conservation Program will determine your eligibility based on:

  • general medical condition
  • the procedured you are schedule to have
  • the amount of blood usually required for the procedure

What do I do?
At the pre-admission unit, a staff person will review the autologous blood donatio process with you and answer any questions you may have. An anesthetist will check to see if you are medically and physically fit to donate. A request for your donation will be forwarded to the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) and you will be contacted to set-up a donation at the nearest CBS site to you. The required amount of blood will be collected at a series of appoinments about a week apart.

Where is my blood stored?
Canadian blood services will send your blood to the Hospital blood bank for storage for your procedure. If your blood is not used, or it expires, it will be properly disposed of.

What if I require more blood than I can donate?
If more blood is required than what is donated, donor blood from Canadian Blood Services will be used.

Are there any disadvantages to being an autologous donor?
You may find that coming in for each donation session is inconvenient. Pre-donation testing, the actual donation and post-donation recovery may take one to two hours or more per donation.

Are there any side effects to donating blood?
There are minor side effects such as bruising or bleeding from the needle, lightheadedness, fainting or dizziness, and mild anemia. Severe complications can include low or high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm or rate, chest pains, heart attack or stroke.

For further information, please speak with your physician or call the Canadian Blood Services at 416-974-9900 and ask for the Autologous Clinic.