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Thread: Questions about Autologous blood donation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Easton PA
    Posts
    182

    Question Questions about Autologous blood donation

    I got the letter from my surgeon's office, saying it is time to set up my blood donations. I am supposed to donate 3 units, starting 34 days prior to surgery. I am having a difficult time finding a center that does this, close to where I live in PA. Also, I have been quoted fees from $148 per unit, to $500 per unit, for them to draw, process, and ship the blood. I am wondering, do most surgeons ask their pts. to do this? And, for those of you who did, how did you feel afterwards. Normally, a person can donate only once every 56 days, but we are to donate 3 times in 34 days. I realize, we will be getting the blood back again, but doesn't it make you feel more fatigued, going in to sugery? Those of you in eastern PA, western NJ, where did you go to donate? And, for those who received donor blood, any problems with insurance paying for it? Sorry for all the questions, I am feeling rather perplexed!!
    Lori in PA, 52 yrs. old
    T54/L72
    Surgery 6/7/11, T3-S1, all posterior, with pelvic anchors
    Gained 2 inches!
    Dr. Boachie, HSS, NYC
    12/10/13 Hardware Removal for infection
    Lost 2", gained PJK!

  2. #2
    backissues Guest
    My surgeon suggested that donating my own blood would weaken me for surgery. I had 4 pints of blood from the blood bank during surgery and one pint after surgery of frozen plasma (I think that's what the fifth pint was.) My insurance took care of paying for the blood.
    Luckily, I had no problem with the donated blood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    778
    I'm not sure exactly where you are located, but I took my daughter to Hershey Medical Center in Hershey PA for her blood donations which is where her surgery was done. Not sure if they will do what you need them to do, but I would think since it is one of the bigger hospitals in the area, they might be able to help or at least recommend a facility that can help.

    Have you contacted the blood donor center nearest you? They might also be able to recommend a facility to you if they don't do it themselves.

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Hi...

    I work at UCSF where dozens of scoliosis surgeries are done every week. Our surgeons have stopped asking for autologous blood donations.

    By the way, I'm guessing that the "every 56 days" thing is probably for donation of blood in the general population. For my first surgeries, 19 years ago, I donated 7 units over 7 weeks.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Lori, I donated one pint at a Red Cross center in West Chester (right off Rte. 202). I felt really wiped out afterward and told Lindy I wouldn't be donating any more. As it turns out, I didn't need additional blood anyway, but if I had needed more, I would have been perfectly fine with donor blood. It's very safe these days. I can't quite remember the insurance end of things with this -- I have to check my records.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,690
    Dr. Lenke did not want me to donate my own blood and he also felt the blood bank was safe. I intend to donate blood when I'm a year post-op because I'm very grateful to have blood from the blood bank.
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,161
    Hi Golfnut,

    I love hearing of your generous expression of gratitude! I wonder if there are restrictions on donating blood in someone who has had prior transfusions? I think there used to be, but I am not sure now.

    My surgeon also does not allow his patients to pre-donate blood. He feels it weakens them and potentially increases the risk of infection. I had an 8-hour surgery and received 4 units of blood-bank blood during surgery. I needed two more units a few days later as I was quite anemic (Hgb 7), so I had a total of 6 units.

    My surgeon feels that the blood bank blood is very safe. I was not sorry that I couldn't donate my own blood.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    197
    I pre-donated 2 pints at the apheresis center at the hospital where my surgery was done. I lost 6 during the surgery and ended up getting my 2 back during, then another 3 from donors.

    I donated both pints in 6 days and felt slightly weak but not badly.
    Female, age 38
    4 years of bracing, concluded at 42*upper/38*lower
    currently 64*upper/40*lower
    Fused T3-L4 on Feb 23 2011
    now 32*upper/18* lower

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    I donated 4 pints in a little over 3 weeks. It didn't really make me feel weak. The tricky part was trying to keep my hematocrit high enough so I could keep donating. I did use all 4 units, plus all the cell saver blood from the surgery. I donated through the red cross blood donation center, which was about an hour's drive away for me. There was no charge. They had it delivered to the hospital, another hour or so away.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Easton PA
    Posts
    182
    Thank you everyone, for all of your replies.
    Susie Bee- it is interesting that you did not have to pay a fee. It was the American Red Cross center closest to me (1 1/2 hrs away) that quoted the $500 fee!
    I only donated blood once, and felt so horrible after, I have avoided it since. It sounds like it is not a requirement to do so, so I think I will have my husband donate for me, and leave it at that. I am not concerned about the safety of donor blood. I was just hoping to avoid any possibility of autoimmune responses to weird antibodies some people have. Its good to know none of you had any problems!!
    Linda- 7 units in 7 weeks?! Wow, you are tough!
    Lori in PA, 52 yrs. old
    T54/L72
    Surgery 6/7/11, T3-S1, all posterior, with pelvic anchors
    Gained 2 inches!
    Dr. Boachie, HSS, NYC
    12/10/13 Hardware Removal for infection
    Lost 2", gained PJK!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    Lori-- that is totally weird that they would charge you, and there was no charge for me. I don't get it at all. Why would there be a charge??? And $500 seems ridiculously high. My American Red Cross location was in Merrillville, IN and then the blood was sent to Chicago, IL, where my surgery was. Merrillville is almost to the IL line...
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    265
    I say just do what you want. The doctors are split on this one, too. No one will judge you if you decide one way or another. I almost didn't do it, either. Go with your gut. In the overall picture, this is a small thing, so don't sweat the little stuff!

    I donated one unit, and felt fine. I took plenty of iron before and after, and had no problems with my hematocrit. I was a little nervous about doing it, and being tired, but they told me how fast our bodies replace it. The fluid is replaced in several hours, the actual blood was just days, but I can't remember how many.... But it was amazing. I was nervous about doing it, and also nervous about NOT doing it. With some of the things not showing up in blood for some time after exposure, who knows?? But that was my fertile/analytical imagination gone wild....
    I also had it done at Red Cross. They told me it was going to be $500 before I went in. They didn't charge me at the donation site, nor directly, but it shows up on my hospital bill at 500 bucks. Maybe they process it, then charge the hospital it goes to, then pass it on to you?? I'm not sure. I was on the cell saver unit, and only used my one unit, no other blood. So the charge isn't for blood bank blood. And it was for the quoted $500...

    Good Luck!
    Jenee'-52
    Bend, Oregon

    Braced 3 years in high school
    Lumbar 70'+ Thoracic 70'+
    I had 3" shrinkage in 6 months...

    Surgery Jan 10, 2011
    9 hours
    T3 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Both curves now 35'

    Possible revison for Flatback Syndrome
    Non-fusion
    Loose/broken hardware-awaiting CT results

    Here is the link to my before and after pics..
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt......&highlight=

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    177
    My doctor asked me if I wanted to, but I decided not to do it. He said he thinks for most people it ends up being a wash because you go in low, and end up needing more than you donated. Since I went in full, I only needed 2 pints a day after the surgery.

    But he would have had me do it if I wanted to, so I think it's entirely up to us these days to decide for ourselves.

    Best wishes!
    Rebecca
    Age: 28
    Dx w/ scoli @ age 12 S curves T-40* L-42*
    wore night bending brace as teenager
    Curves changed to 50's plus or minus
    herniated disc L2-3, Discectomy October 2007
    fusion L2-3 November 2008
    Revision L2-3 Fusion, Removal of hardware August 2009
    Curves measuring 52 T&L September 2010
    Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
    gained almost two inches in height

    Before and After Exterior
    Before and After X-rays
    My blog: http://herscoliosisjourney.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Reading, PA
    Posts
    93
    Is it common to receive blood from this surgery? It seems like everyone has received some, but I never did. My surgeon said I lost a liter of blood... and from the help of a conversion chart it came out to a little over 2 pints. No where in the surgery report does it mention that I received any blood.
    Tiffany K
    I'm not short, I'm fun size!

    29 years old
    4'11", never braced
    Pre-surgery, 52 T6 to T12, 35 T12 to L4
    T1-L2, Posterior 8/5/2010, gained 1"

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...9&l=03212f3e17

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Easton PA
    Posts
    182
    Susie- I think the cost differs from region to region. I was told it was $450 for processing the blood, and $50 for shipping.

    Tiffany- I just asked Dr. Boachie what the average blood loss with this type of sugery is, and he said 500-1500cc. Some people can tolerate a loss of 1000cc, and not need blood. You were one of the lucky ones!
    Lori in PA, 52 yrs. old
    T54/L72
    Surgery 6/7/11, T3-S1, all posterior, with pelvic anchors
    Gained 2 inches!
    Dr. Boachie, HSS, NYC
    12/10/13 Hardware Removal for infection
    Lost 2", gained PJK!

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