Blood is collected at the hospital's blood bank and the American Red Cross from voluntary donors for use by patients during and after surgery. About 90 percent of it comes from the Red Cross. As required by the American Association of Blood Banks, the Food and Drug Administration and the American College of Pathologists, all units of blood stored at our blood bank, with the exception of autologous blood (self-donations), are tested for AIDS and other closely related viruses, as well as certain types of viral hepatitis and syphilis.
If you have decided to undergo elective surgery at Northwest Hospital, it is important for you to be aware of the variety of blood transfusion services available to you through the hospital's blood bank. Blood transfusions may be required for certain surgical procedures which result in significant blood loss. Before your scheduled surgery, ask your physician about your risk of blood loss and the alternatives you may have to receiving blood from the community supply.
Autologous Blood Donations
The safest form of blood transfusion is an autologous transfusion, a procedure whereby you are transfused with blood you have donated yourself. You may be able to pre-deposit your own blood at the hospital's blood bank, where it will be stored for you to be used during your scheduled elective surgery.
Check with your physician to see if you qualify as an autologous blood donor. If you qualify, your physician will write the necessary orders for you, designating when you are to donate and the number of units required. You may then contact the hospital's blood bank for an appointment.
Directed Blood Donations
A directed blood donation can be made if you do not qualify as an autologous donor and you wish to receive blood from the donors you select, rather than from regular volunteer donors.
In order to receive a directed donation, you choose friends or family members to donate units of blood to be stored specifically for your elective surgery. The hospital's blood bank is required to screen your selected donors' blood for the same diseases and viruses for which volunteers must be tested, as well as for compatibility with your blood type. Directed donor units require additional processing and arrangements must be made well in advance of your surgery date. Studies indicate that directed donations are no safer than volunteer donations.
Intraoperative Autologous Transfusions
Another form of blood transfusions is the intraoperative autologous transfusion (IAT). During your operation, blood otherwise lost can be collected from your surgical site, washed and filtered by specialized equipment, then returned to you in the operating room or saved for transfusion after surgery.
Intraoperative autologous transfusion services are provided through the American Red Cross and are available at the hospital. This method of transfusion can be performed for several types of elective surgery but is not appropriate for all operations. It is important that you contact your physician to determine whether you are a candidate for an intraoperative transfusion.
For Further Details
If you are interested in any of these types of blood donations, discuss your options with your physician before your scheduled surgery. Ask your physician to explain all options and risks regarding transfusions. Your physicians can determine the best alternative for you and will provide the hospital with written authorization to provide the appropriate blood transfusion service.
If you have any questions about blood donor services at Northwest Hospital call 521-5926 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Blood donations are accepted by appointment only.
The Northwest Hospital Blood Bank is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks.
5401 Old Court Road
Randallstown, MD 21133