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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2005 Aug;129(8):981-3.

Storage and transfusion of infected autologous blood or components: a survey of North American laboratories.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.



Many patients request that autologous blood or components be collected and available for use during scheduled surgical or invasive medical procedures to avoid exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) from allogeneic transfusions. Some patients from whom autologous blood is collected are themselves infected with HIV, HBV, or HCV. However, unlike HIV-, HBV-, or HCV-infected allogeneic blood and components, which must be excluded from the community blood supply, infected autologous blood and components are allowed to be stored in hospitals and transfused back to the patients (autologous donors) from whom the blood was collected. Although the transfusion of HIV-, HBV-, or HCV-infected autologous blood or components does not present a risk to the autologous donor, such a transfusion presents a risk to other patients, considering that at least 1 in every 25,000 transfusions are administered to the wrong individual.


To determine if hospital transfusion services store and/or transfuse autologous blood or components infected with HIV, HBV, and/or HCV.


An educational enhancement subsection of a College of American Pathologists Proficiency Testing Survey (J-C 2003) assessed transfusion service practices for storing and/or transfusing HIV-, HBV-, and HCV-infected autologous blood and components.


A total of 4251 participants were asked whether they stored and/or transfused autologous blood or components and whether these stored blood products included those that were infected with HIV, HBV, or HCV.


Of the 4251 survey respondents, 3561 provided data regarding their autologous blood and component storage and/or transfusion practices. A total of 2988 participants reported that they store and/or transfuse autologous blood or components. A total of 2390 respondents reported that they do not test autologous donations collected in their own institution for evidence of infection with HIV, HBV, or HCV. Most survey participants reported that even if an autologous donation is tested and found to be infected they would still be willing to store and transfuse the blood component, according to which agent was causing the infection: HIV (n = 1867), HBV (n = 2158), or HCV (n = 2233).


Most North American hospitals do not test autologous blood donations that they collect in their own institution for evidence of infection with HIV, HBV, or HCV, leading to the conclusion that infected autologous blood components are being stored and transfused. Even when autologous donations are tested and found to be infected with HIV, HBV, or HCV, most North American hospitals would be willing to store and/or transfuse the infected autologous blood components.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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