In intraoperative blood salvage, the blood that is shed during is retrieved, processed, and returned to the patient.
Other terms for intraoperative blood salvage are intraoperative autologous transfusion, intraoperative salvage, or intraoperative autotransfusion.
Intraoperative blood salvage provides immense quantities of patient’s own blood [autologous blood] very rapidly.
The first commercially available instrument that could concentrate and wash salvaged red cells was the Cell Saver (Haemonetics, Braintree, MA), introduced in 1974.
Virtually all similar intraoperative blood salvage instruments are referred to as “cell savers”.
After the blood is collected from the surgical field, it is mixed with anticoagulant. The aspirated blood is collected in a reservoir until there is sufficient blood for processing.
When sufficient quantity is reached, the salvaged blood is pumped into the centrifuge bowl, where it is concentrated and then washed with an isotonic electrolyte solution, most often saline.
The processed red cell suspension is then pumped from the centrifuge bowl into an infusion bag.
Modern cell salvage instruments can process a full reservoir of blood, and provide 225 mL of washed, saline-suspended red cells with a hematocrit of 50 percent or more in approximately three minutes.
Thus, a massively bleeding patient can be provided with the equivalent of 12 units of banked blood per hour, all from his own blood.