A blood transfusion is the transfer of blood or blood products from one person (donor) into another person's bloodstream (recipient). In most situations this is done as a life saving maneuver to replace blood cells or blood products lost through severe bleeding.
Blood can be provided from two sources:
Autologous blood (using your own blood)
Donor blood (using someone else blood)
Autologous Blood Transfusion: Transfusion of your own blood is known as autologous blood transfusion. It has the advantage of eliminating or minimizing the need for someone else's blood. It is the safest method but requires planning ahead and not all patients are eligible
Pre-operative donation: Donating your own blood before surgery. The blood bank draws your blood and stores it until you need it during or after surgery. This option is only for non-emergency (elective) surgery. The disadvantage is that it requires advanced planning which may delay surgery. Some medical conditions may prevent the pre-operative donation of blood products.
Intra -Operative Autologous Transfusion: Recycling your blood during surgery. Blood lost during surgery is filtered, and put back into your body during surgery. This can be done in emergency and elective surgeries. Large amounts of blood can be recycled. This process cannot be used if cancer or infection is present.
Post Operative Autologous Transfusion: Recycling your blood after surgery. Blood lost after surgery is collected, filtered and returned to your body. This can be done in emergency and elective surgeries. This process can't be used in patients where cancer or infection is present.
Hemodilution: Donating your own blood during surgery. Immediately before surgery, some of your blood is taken and replaced with IV fluids. After surgery, your blood is filtered and returned to you. This is done only for elective surgeries. This process dilutes your own blood so you lose less concentrated blood during surgery. The disadvantage of this process is that only a limited amount of blood can be removed, and certain medical conditions may prevent hemodilution.
Apheresis: Donating you own platelets and plasma. Before surgery your platelets and plasma, which help stop bleeding are withdrawn, filtered and returned to you when you need it later. This can be done only for elective surgeries. This process may eliminate the need for donor platelets and plasma, especially in high blood-loss procedures. The disadvantage of this process is that some medical conditions may prevent apheresis, and in actual practice it has limited applications
Donor Blood: All donor blood is tested for safety making its risks very small, but no screening program is perfect and risks, such as contraction of the hepatitis virus still exist.
Volunteer blood: Blood collected from the community blood supply (blood banks).
This has the advantage of being readily available, and can be life-saving when your own blood is not available. The disadvantage is that there is a risk of disease transmission such as hepatitis or AIDS and allergic reactions.
Designated donor blood: Blood is collected from the donors you select such as friends and family members. You can select people with your own blood type who you feel are safe donors. Like volunteer blood, there is still a risk of disease transmission, such as hepatitis and AIDS, and allergic reactions. This process usually requires several days for advanced donation. It may not necessarily be safer than volunteer donor blood.