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Anaesthesia. 2019 Aug;74(8):976-983. doi: 10.1111/anae.14630. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

Obstetric intra-operative cell salvage: a review of an established cell salvage service with 1170 re-infused cases.

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Department of Blood Transfusion, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro, UK.
Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro, UK.


The use of cell salvage during caesarean section has been increasing steadily, although there are concerns relating to cost, a perceived risk of amniotic fluid embolism, and fetal red cell sensitisation. We present observational data from almost a decade of use of intra-operative cell salvage in obstetrics. By the end of this period, we set up cell salvage collection for > 98% of all caesarean sections. From 2008 to 2017, 1170 women have had a re-infusion of cell salvaged blood with no clinical safety concerns; the median (IQR [range]) volume was 231 (154-306 [80-1690]) ml. During this time there has been a marked reduction in the number of women who were transfused allogeneic blood, as well as the amount of blood transfused. In total, 647 (55%) women have had alloimmunisation testing, with two positive cases. Quality control data indicate that the quality of blood processed from partial first bowls is no worse than that from full bowls. We discuss the costs of providing this service with regard to: staffing costs; single suction; leucodepletion filters; selectivity in the processing of collected blood; and the use of partial first bowls.


autologous transfusion; blood transfusion; caesarean section; cell salvage; obstetrics; patient blood management

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