Cell Salvage

What is cell salvage?

Cell salvage is a process that collects blood from an operating site. This blood is then processed in a cell salvage machine and given back to the patient.

Cell salvage

This type of blood transfusion where the patient receives their own blood back is called autologous transfusion.

The other type of blood transfusion where a patient receives donated blood from the blood bank is called homologous blood transfusion.

Using cell salvage means that a patient will receive their own blood back during an operation, and may not require donated blood from the blood bank.

Autologous Vs homologous transfusion

The major advantages of Autologous over Homologous transfusion are as follows:

  • Reduced risk of post operative infections
  • Reduced risk of rare adverse events such as transfusion reactions
  • Reduced risk of getting the ‘wrong blood’
  • Protects valuable and scarce blood bank stocks
  • Cost implications. Donated blood is expensive
  • Cell Salvage allows us to direct more resources toward patient care
  • Often acceptable to groups with religious or other objections to homologous blood

Cell salvage in South Tees NHS Trust

Currently the trust has five cell salvage machines. Four are on loan from the company which supply cell salvage equipment, and one is owned by the trust after it was donated by Jehovah’s Witness. The trust pays for the consumables that are used each time cell salvage is performed. The funding for this service comes from the pathology department.

The following specialities use cell salvage:

  • Cardio theatre
  • Vascular theatre
  • Orthopaedic theatre
  • Obstetric theatre

However this list is not exhaustive and a speciality that requires cell salvage can utilise the service, as long as national guidelines are met.

The trust employs a full time cell salvage co-ordinator who is responsible for the running of the service. There is also a part time cell salvage co-ordinator based in cardio theatres to assist with training, staff development etc. Each speciality has a team of trained operators who can be called upon when cell salvage is required.

If you require further information please contact the cell salvage co-ordinator on 01624 850850 ext 52655.

Patient Information

Download our cell salvage leaflet (163kb)
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