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Patient's 'Lost' Blood Can Be Reused in Trauma Surgery

(HealthDay News) Reusing an injured patients' own blood during emergency surgery costs less and avoids the risks associated with using donated blood for transfusions, new research suggests.

During planned surgeries in which the patient is expected to experience significant bleeding into the chest cavity or abdomen, it's common practice for doctors to suction patients' blood, which is then collected in a canister, filtered and returned to the patient, researchers said.

However, reusing the patient's blood is much less common during emergency surgeries…, explained study author Dr. Carlos Brown… That's because of the need to have a perfusionist or other specially trained member of the surgical team on hand to operate equipment and oversee the procedure.

If more trauma centers would do so, it would both lower costs and potentially avoid blood-transfusion related risks to trauma patients, including reactions to the donated blood and the transmission of infectious disease, Brown said.

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