Who Donates Better Blood for You Than You?

By Thompson, Richard C. | FDA Consumer, April 1988 | Go to article overview

Who Donates Better Blood for You Than You?


Thompson, Richard C., FDA Consumer


The AIDS epidemic that first appeared in the United States in the late 1970s has had a great many consequences, few of them positive. But one favorable result has been increased use of a transfusion procedure by which persons facing elective surgery can donate their own blood to themselves before that surgery.

The procedure is called autologous (awtol-o-gus), meaning "related to self," donation. It is based on the fact that receiving your own blood during and after surgery is better and safer than receiving someone else's blood. (Blood intended for use by someone other than the donor is known as "homologous.")

Volunteer blood donations in the United States are now tested for the presence of such contaminants as the AIDS virus. Where these are found, the blood is discarded. This makes the risk of transmitting the virus through a transfusion almost nonexistent. Nonetheless, there are advantages to donating one's own blood for later use.

These include: * reduced risk of a transfusion reaction, * more rapid replacement by your body of blood lost during surgery, since the bone marrow where blood cells form has already been activated by the process of donating blood, and * less demand on the community blood supply.

When autologous donation is suggested, the patient's physician will make arrangements with the local blood bank. It's likely that iron supplements will be prescribed to help build up the number of red blood cells to avoid anemia.

In autologous donation, a person can give one unit of blood a week for up to six weeks, depending on the anticipated need. Each unit is just under a pint and is about 10 percent of the body's total blood supply.

As the blood is taken, it is labeled for that patient's use and kept ready at the hospital for the operation. The last donation is usually made no closer than three days before the scheduled surgery. This allows the body time to replenish the fluid volume that has been removed.

Conditions that might prevent someone from donating blood to others do not prevent autologous blood donation. People who have had hepatitis, for example, and who may still be carriers of the hepatitis virus, can give blood to themselves. This is also true of people who would be ineligible to give blood because they are on medication.

Nor do age limits and other restrictions on blood donors apply to autologous blood collection. The major consideration is simply the health of the patient. Taking blood for autologous transfusion is considered safe even for children and pregnant women.

Occasionally, some people may not be able to donate enough of their own blood to meet their needs. But even partial use of autologous blood will reduce the chance of an infection or adverse reaction from a transfusion of blood from other donors.

A study of 180 patients scheduled for elective surgery at a Boston hospital found that most could donate a unit of blood a week without becoming anemic. When the study was completed, it was found that a third of the patients had required no transfusions at all during or after their surgery, and another third had used only their already donated blood. Only one-third of the patients needed blood donated by other persons.

Despite the advantages of autologous transfusion, a 1987 study reported in the New England Journal of medicine found that only 5 percent of some 5,000 eligible patients at 18 hospitals nationwide had stored their blood in advance of planned surgery. Dr. Pearl Toy of the University of California at San Francisco and a coauthor of the report said that was surprising. "We had thought people would be donating blood for themselves because of newspaper stories about the risks of transfusion."

Toy pointed out that "it's safer if you use your own blood. It eliminates the chance of hepatitis and transfusion reactions, which are the two major risks of blood transfusion, and it also releases blood supplies for emergencies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Who Donates Better Blood for You Than You?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.