What Is Cell Saver?

As a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist, hemostasis, coagulopathy, and blood salvation are important considerations in the operations I’m involved with. Cell Saver is one technique our perfusion team routinely utilizes to facilitate blood conservation. Blood loss on the surgical field is collected, run through a filter, washed, and returned to the patient via the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit or in a blood bag for the anesthesia team to transfuse.

One unit of Cell Saver blood is roughly 225 cc with a hematocrit of ~55%. This is a form of autologous (the patient’s own) blood transfusion which doesn’t require cross-matching; however, only red blood cells are salvaged with this technique. If many units of Cell Saver are transfused without appropriately replacing platelets and clotting factors, one can create a dilutional coagulopathy.

Blood gas run from a Cell Saver sample

Drop me a comment below with your experience regarding Cell Saver and other blood salvation techniques!

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