Indications and organisational methods for autologous blood transfusion procedures in Italy: Results of a national survey

Liviana Catalano, Alessandra Campolongo, Maurizio Caponera, Alessandra Berzuini, Andrea Bontadini, Giuseppe Furlò, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Giancarlo M. Liumbruno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. Pre-operative donation of autologous blood is a practice that is now being abandoned. Alternative methods of transfusing autologous blood, other than predeposited blood, do however play a role in limiting the need for transfusion of allogeneic blood. This survey of autologous blood transfusion practices, promoted by the Italian Society of Transfusion Medicine and Immunohaematology more than 2 years after the publication of national recommendations on the subject, was intended to acquire information on the indications for predeposit in Italy and on some organisational aspects of the alternative techniques of autotransfusion.

Materials and methods. A structured questionnaire consisting of 22 questions on the indications and organisational methods of autologous blood transfusion was made available on a web platform from 15 January to 15 March, 2013. The 232 Transfusion Services in Italy were invited by Email to complete the online survey.

Results. Of the 232 transfusion structures contacted, 160 (69%) responded to the survey, with the response rate decreasing from the North towards the South and the Islands. The use of predeposit has decreased considerably in Italy and about 50% of the units collected are discarded because of lack of use. Alternative techniques (acute isovolaemic haemodilution and peri-operative blood salvage) are used at different frequencies across the country.

Discussion. The data collected in this survey can be considered representative of national practice; they show that the already very limited indications for predeposit autologous blood transfusion must be adhered to even more scrupulously, also to avoid the notable waste of resources due to unused units. Users of alternative autotransfusion techniques must be involved in order to gain a full picture of the degree of use of such techniques; multidisciplinary agreement on the indications for their use is essential in order for these indications to have an effective role in "patient blood management" programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-508
Number of pages12
JournalBlood Transfusion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Acute normovolaemic haemodilution
  • Intra-operative blood salvage
  • Patient blood management
  • Post-operative blood salvage
  • Pre-operative autologous donation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Medicine(all)


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