Updated at: 07-10-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Autologous blood donation occurs when a person donates blood for their own use prior to or during a scheduled surgery. Transfusions that employ the patient’s own plasma are known as autologous.

When a patient has an allogeneic blood transfusion, however, the blood is from a different individual.

If blood supplies are limited, an autologous transfusion can be used to lower the risk of bloodborne infection or to guarantee that you have an adequate supply of blood.

Autologous transfusions can help you avoid a bloodborne infection or guarantee that you have enough blood on hand in the event of a shortage of blood supply.

Facts You Need To Know About Autologous Blood Donation

In order to reduce the danger of infection or ensure that you have enough blood on hand, you can use an autologous transfusion.

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What is blood donation?

Blood donation equates to the act of giving blood. However, things aren’t as simple as they appear. When you donate blood, you’re essentially handing someone else’s life away, in the most literal sense. As a means of extending the lives of others, the most prevalent approach is to help them out. Donors of blood have their blood drawn by a machine. Whatever method they choose will be a matter of preference for the donation facility, and they’ll have to make that decision themselves.

It’s difficult to donate blood because there are so many different ways to do it. Many people are confused by the several forms of blood donations available. Donating blood in various forms, such as whole blood, matched blood, and so on, is a good illustration of this.

What does autologous mean?

When we talk about autologous blood donations, we’re going to narrow our definition of the term “autologous” to those that are most relevant to our subject. The term “autologous” is used in the medical community to describe organ, tissue, and blood transplants that come from the same patient. It’s like making a donation to yourself.

What an autologous blood donation is?

What an autologous blood donation entails has now been explained to you. You don’t have to worry about it. Please allow us to assist you with this. Because the recipient and donor are the same in an autologous blood donation, one individual is able to help another by donating blood.

Why don’t we dig a little deeper into this now? It is up to the individual doctors whether or not they allow a donor to be the recipient of the blood they donated in a variety of ways.

Open heart surgery, for example, necessitates a large amount of blood, and doctors may allow the patient to donate their own blood in order to save time and money. The donor’s blood type is unusual and he does not have a family member who can donate blood in this case. To be able to participate in this event, the patient must be in good health and have permission from the doctor to do so. Keep reading to find out more about autologous blood donation.

How long does autologous blood last?

Learn more about the process of blood donation by continuing to read on. Many people donate autologous blood months or even years before they actually need it. After donating and before undergoing surgery, donors must take a respite. It’s only a matter of time before these blood samples are eliminated. Estimates of 35 days would be reasonable. Blood cells’ shelf lives are nearly the same when kept at four degrees Celsius. The fact that this was a successful autologous blood donation serves as a shining example.

Prior to surgery, most adult donors/patients are able to contribute a significant amount of red blood cells. Three units of red blood cells is about right. The preservation of blood during surgery is greatly enhanced by this feature. Where the safety and cleanliness of all other donors’ blood cannot be guaranteed, this technique can be employed. In order to ensure the patient’s safety, as well as a better chance of a successful procedure, autologous blood transfers are preferable. Please click on the link provided to see it. A red blood cell transfusion of a patient’s own (autologous blood transfusion)


There are four varieties of autologous blood transfusions. If one is better than the other, it’s impossible to say. Along with those already mentioned, there are the following:

  • Blood is drawn for preoperative autologous donation prior to surgery (PAD). Blood is stored in a blood bank and returned to the donor when necessary.
  • Acute normovolemic hemodilution (ANH) must be used during surgery since anesthesia needs the prompt evacuation of blood. After that, the same volume of replacement fluid is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to maintain normal blood volume and pressure.
  • Intraoperative cell salvage is achieved by using a cell saver machine to immediately replace blood that is lost during surgery. Besides eliminating clot-forming material, the gadget injects anticoagulant into the bloodstream.
  • Wound drains are utilized in postoperative cell salvage to reclaim blood that was lost after surgery. Blood is treated and reintroduced after surgery, rather than during it, as is the case with intraoperative cell salvage.

Autologous Blood Donations

If your procedure is scheduled several weeks in advance, you may be able to get by with an autologous blood transfusion instead. A transfusion of the blood you drew before to surgery will be administered to you following surgery.

Having your own blood transfusion provides numerous benefits. You won’t have an allergic reaction to foreign-made antibodies. It will work as long as your body is able to detect and accept your own blood. For another thing, there is no risk of someone else’s blood catching a disease from yours.

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Autologous blood transfusions are possible if you plan your procedure well in advance. In the event of an emergency, this is the only option. This facility’s blood can only be used for surgeries at Strong Memorial Hospital or Highland Hospital, respectively. Please contact the facility or the American Red Cross for more information if your procedure is being performed at a different location.

If you’re considering an autologous blood transfusion, here are the measures you’ll need to take.

Step 1: Ask your doctor

Speak to your surgeon about the possibility of donating blood for surgery. Whether or not you’re fit enough to donate blood and whether or not your surgery requires a blood transfusion can be determined by your doctor.

To ensure the safety of blood donors, the Blood Bank Physician will conduct a thorough examination of any donor labeled “High Risk.” The list of “high-risk” donors includes people with heart conditions, infections or seizures, as well as women who are pregnant or have children under the age of 18. In order to participate, children must be at least ten years of age and weigh at least 65 pounds

Step 2: Prepare for your donation

The health of your blood and body must be optimal. Iron is required for the formation of new hemoglobin-rich blood cells. Donating blood removes iron from the body. Because of an iron shortage, you may be at risk for anemia. Maintaining a healthy iron level may be easier if you include meals high in iron and foods high in vitamin C in your diet. As a final precaution, an iron supplement may be necessary. 65 milligrams of elemental iron is the recommended daily allowance. Mixing ferrous sulfate with orange juice or a meal yields a 325-mg iron supplement that can be taken on alternate days. For the first four months following surgery, begin taking iron and continue for as long as possible. Ask your doctor or surgeon if you’re unsure how long you’ll need the supplement following surgery.

Step 3: Schedule your appointment

Once you and your doctor have agreed on a date for your surgery, you and your doctor will need to fill out a form requesting autologous blood donation. When your doctor writes a prescription for you, you must include the following information:

  • Your legal given name
  • Your date of birth
  • The day and hour of your surgery.
  • The number of units of blood you’ll need.

After your doctor has emailed or faxed the request form to the Donor Program, call the donor program to set up an appointment with the Blood Bank secretary. The amount of blood you need to donate may necessitate a second appointment. Between appointments, you must leave at least three days in between each one. All autologous blood donations should be completed three days prior to your operation. Avoid difficulties by scheduling your donations at least seven days apart, and at least seven days before your surgery. To avoid having to reschedule appointments due to illness, low blood counts, or issues getting your blood drawn, plan your appointments well in advance.

In addition, it is a good idea to have someone drive you to and from appointments.

To schedule an appointment, please call 585-275-9662.

Step 4: Make your donation

Make sure to consume a healthy diet the day before your trip. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

In most cases, the treatment takes between seven and ten minutes, and it is carried out by a highly qualified and specialized expert. It’s possible that the needle will sting a little bit, but the donor shouldn’t feel anything. A new, single-use needle and other donation-related supplies are provided for each patient.

Depending on your weight, a pint of whole blood is required for each donation. One of your eight to twelve pints of blood can easily be spared. Some time to relax and enjoy some refreshments will be provided after the donation. Please plan on spending an hour or so at your appointment.

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Important Facts about Autologous Blood Donations

  • To collect one’s own blood, one must make an appointment.
  • Autologous units may not be sufficient for your needs. The blood bank may be able to supply you with more blood if this is the case.
  • Yours alone, and not to be shared with the wider public.
  • Every other day, 65 mg of elemental iron (325 mg of ferrous sulfate) will help you maintain a healthy level of hemoglobin in your blood. It’s preferable to take ferrous sulfate with a meal or a cup of juice. Diets high in natural iron are also recommended.
  • It’s possible that your medical history and physical assessment will rule you out as a donor. People who want to donate must be healthy.
  • There is a chance you won’t be able to donate if the technician has difficulty getting into your veins.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age limits for participating in this program?

On the basis of how well they understand and participate with the surgery, a youngster may be too young to undergo a procedure. Anyone over the age of ten and under the weight of 65 pounds is welcome to donate. For children under the age of 17 and those who are unable to consent, a parent or guardian must be present at the moment of the first donation. There is no limit to how old a person can be. A brief medical history and physical examination are required of all program applicants.

Should I eat before my blood donation?

Yes. Be sure to eat frequently and drink a lot of water before donating.

How long does the collection process take?

Blood collection can take anywhere from seven to ten minutes. You’ll need to set aside 20-30 minutes to go through your medical history, get a mini-physical, and fill out the paperwork needed to accurately identify your blood unit.

Should I stop taking my medication before my donation appointment?

Remember to follow your doctor’s orders even though we will ask for a list of all the medications you are currently taking.

When should I begin my donation?

Donation schedules can be tailored to meet your specific requirements based on the quantity of units to be collected. Before your scheduled procedure, you can begin donating up to 35 days in advance. You are ineligible to donate within 72 hours of surgery.

Will my blood be tested for diseases?

Scheduling donations according to the quantity of units to be collected can be adjusted to meet your requirements. You can begin giving 35 days prior to your scheduled operation. If you have undergone surgery within 72 hours, you are ineligible for donation.

Will the blood I donate meet all my transfusion needs?

The autologous units you donate will be stored for as long as you need them. Whole blood and packed cells, as well as plasma and platelets, are all occasionally used. It’s possible that more packed cells than the autologous ones you provided will be needed. Whenever possible, we use donated blood that has been extensively screened and tested for infectious diseases before being used to supplement our supply of packed cells and blood components.

What do I do if my surgery is postponed?

If your operation is postponed, rescheduled, cancelled, or additional surgery is planned, notify the Strong Memorial Hospital Donor Program immediately. SMH’s Donor Program may not be able to use your blood if you don’t tell them of your intention to donate.

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If I donate my own blood for my surgery, what happens to it if I do not need it?

Because they can’t be utilized on another patient, autologous units must be discarded beyond their expiration date.

How do I know I will receive my own blood?

Patients’ names and medical records are entered into a unique tagging and identifying system for blood units. This means that you will receive your own blood.

What should I do if I’m feeling ill on the day of my appointment or currently taking an antibiotic?

To learn if you qualify to donate, you can reach the Strong Memorial Hospital Donor Program by phone at (585) 275-9662.

It’s A Wrap!

What does it signify when someone donates their own blood? You’ve just learned what an autologous donation is. There are a lot of people who may profit from this information. Blood donations are an excellent approach to have a better understanding of the blood system. As a method to help others, you may want to learn more about double red blood cell donation. Check out this article to learn more about where your blood donation goes.