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Thread: Blood Donations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Palestine, IN
    Posts
    44

    Blood Donations

    I am now six weeks out from having my surgery. My doctor receommended me donating some blood to myself in advance. Right now he is very difficult to get in touch with. He has a family illness out of state that he keeps having to go take care of. He assures me he will be back in time for the surgery, but I do not know when I should start the process of donating the blood. Did anyone else have to do this and if so when did you start?
    Lori
    Age: 40
    Diagnosed @ at of 11
    Muscle Stimulator for 1 year
    Milwaukee Brace from 1982-1987 47* (center curve)
    (was told would never get worse)
    Surgery November 11, 2009
    Fused T6-T12
    Pre Op 25* - 54* - 40*
    Post Op 24* - 33* - 21*

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    114
    This is very common and is called "Autologous Donation." My doctor gave me a pamphlet, but if you call the hospital where you will have your surgery, I'd imagine that they have bood donation services. They can give you the information you need. I gave two units (ask your doctor) and it needed to be used within 42 days. It can be drawn between 5-7 days apart. If your doctor hasn't restricted vitamins...take some iron. I was told NOT to take vitamins within a month of my surgery, so I ate some iron rich food before I donated. The hospital then holds on to your donation at their blood bank until your surgery. So check with your local hospital on their procedure. Good luck!
    Kathy, 43
    Diagnosed as a teen
    Boston brace 2 years
    63 degree lumbar curve
    Surgery August 26, 2009
    Anterior approach fused T12-L4
    now 28 degrees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    90
    Hi Lori

    I donated one unit of blood for my own transfusion five weeks ahead of my 8/24/09 surgery. My partner, a universal donor, also gave a donation for me. I got a notice from the American Red Cross that we should make our donations in their facility. Although my surgeon initiated these donations at the Red Cross, you may want to contact your local chapter directly and inquire how to make a donation for yourself. That would give you some measure of control over the process while your surgeon is away.

    Hope that helps.

    Karen
    Karen, 66 years "young"
    Polio at 6
    Diagnosed with scoliosis at school; no treatment
    Lumbar curve in 2005: 40; moderate pain
    Lumbar curve in 2009: 55; pain severe
    Lumbar curve after surgery: 21
    Surgeon - Dr. William Lauerman, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC
    Three surgeries in one week:
    8/24/09 L3 to S1 anterior spinal fusion with Harm cage
    8/28/09 Posterior spinal fusion from T10 to S1 with instrumentation
    9/1/09 Partial revision of instrumentation


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    52
    I had my surgery done at Yale and donated blood before hand. My Dr. said I could do one or two units, it ws up to me. He put us in touch with the blood bank at Yale to set up the appointments. Be careful because the blood bank scheduled two appointments for me, one 2.5 weeks before my surgery and the second was scheduled for the Thursday before my Monday surgery. They insisted that I could give my blood up to 3 days before my surgery. Forunately, we questioned this and asked the Dr. He said absolutely not! He suggested not less than two weeks before the surgery for my final donation. I ended up just giving one unit.

    I would really try to get in touch with your doctor to at least find out when he suggests doing it. Do not take the word of the blood bank people. Maybe three days is enough for some surgeries but not this one!
    Sarah
    22 year old grad student
    Boston brace from 12-14
    surgery on June 1, 2009 T3 to L2
    Yale New Haven Hospital Dr. Grauer
    Thoracic curve 47*
    Thoracolumbar curve 54*

    Surgery Photos
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...8&l=a2a5799140

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    As a retired Medical Technologist, we used to draw many autologous blood donors and observed that the people who donated the most blood quite often had to be transfused prior to going into surgery, especially the women. If I were you, I wouldn't even bother to donate for your own surgery. Maybe one unit two weeks before surgery if you really want to, but you really don't want to be in a weakened condition prior to surgery. A lot of Doctor's aren't even recommending it anymore. Bank blood is tested for so many diseases now and the donors are very well screened, so there is very little chance of getting a blood borne disease from it anymore. I had a very bad cold prior to my surgery and couldn't give and my Doctor's secretary told me not to worry about it as there was not a shortage of blood at the time.
    Take care, Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    311
    I agree, Sally. I had made appointments (at the Red Cross, about 30 mi from here) to donate my blood pre-surgery. I was chatting with our neighbor, who is the head of our hosp's blood bank, and mentioned that I was doing this. She said I shouldn't, that no dr here has recommended it in at least 2 years because the donated blood is so well screened now. She said that, in her opinion, going into such a huge surgery, already compromised, was dumb. I cancelled my appointments, and received 4 units of some kind donors' blood, instead.
    Fused T-3 to L-3, Aug 25
    Hardware removal surgery, Nov 2, 2010
    Fused T-10 to L-2, osteotomy, Feb 22, 2011

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    I specifically asked my surgeon this, but he didn't recommend it either. I was given blood bank blood.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Quote Originally Posted by Snoopy View Post
    A blood shortage could be a problem for some people. With this being the start of cold and flu season, a lot of the people who donate regularly aren't able to because they are sick. Keep this in mind when deciding to donate for yourself or not.

    Mary Lou
    Even with the cold and flu season starting, usually there is only blood shortages during the summer months when people are on vacation, or during the holidays when people are too busy to donate. I had my surgery during the holidays and received 6 pints of bank blood between the two surgeries. However, I am B Positive and received O Positive units probably because of a shortage of B's.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    Hi Lori,

    My surgeon set up my blood donations 5 weeks prior to surgery. I had to give three units and then allow two weeks recovery for the surgery. I was able to donate 2 units succesfully, however on the third week, my haemoglobin fell below the benchmark for donation and therefore he requested a unit to be crossmatched. He also ordered cellsaver for me during surgery and I received about 300ml back. My two units were returned to me over the next 24 hours as they were not needed as an emergency (the fresh blood serves as a real pick-me-up) and i'm guessing the donor blood went back to the bank. If your surgeon is not around, maybe just get in touch with the blood bank your surgeons deals with and they may be able to point you in the right direction.
    Good Luck
    Vali
    44 years young! now 45
    Surgery - June 1st, 2009
    Dr David Hall - Adelaide Spine Clinic
    St. Andrews Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
    Pre-op curve - 58 degree lumbar
    Post -op - 5 degrees
    T11 - S1 Posterior
    L4/5 - L5/S1 Anterior Fusion

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    129

    Did not donate blood before surgery.

    Prior to my surgery this past spring, I asked my surgeon about donating my own blood. My surgeon did not recommend it, and told me that a recent study suggested donating autologous blood preoperatively can be a bit of a catch 22in that it would be a waste of blood (and time), since the process of donating blood often results in anemia. And, obviously, if anemic going in, the chances of requiring a transfusion would increase. Basically, you're going to lose blood no matter what and while a transfusion is not usually anticipated, in the event one is needed, its better to get blood from the bank. While it used to be true that receiving a transfusion (via the bank) held a risk of being exposed to blood borne disease, the likelihood of this happening now, with the new screening processes, is very low.

    Simply stated, my surgeon believes it is much better to go into surgery with a full reserve. It will help you recover more quickly and completely. By donating blood before surgery you deplete not only your red blood cell but also your white blood cells, and platelets as well as the plasma and any other nutrients in your blood leading to a depleted reserve.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Quote Originally Posted by Snoopy View Post
    I disagree. Yes, summer vacations do sometimes play a role in people not donating, but that's not the only time there are shortages. As you stated yourself, there apparently was a shortage of B+ blood over the holidays when you had surgery. Cold and flu season do play a role in blood shortages.

    Mary Lou
    Mary Lou,
    I worked in blood banks for over 25 years, and the only time there was a shortage was in the summer, usually August, and between Christmas and New Years. We never had a surgery canceled because of any shortage. Surprisingly, the Red Cross came up with the blood when it was needed. Did you work at a blood bank so that you have good reason to disagree? I am just curious. I agree wholeheartedly with Jesscv's post. That was totally our experience at the hospital where I worked. Maybe Lori could round up some Directed Donors instead.

    Chances are that the hospital where I had my surgery had an oversupply of O+ blood; so since O is compatible with B (not the other way around) rather that get B's from the Red Cross, they used what they had. However, I don't know this for a fact.

    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    I think you may have misinterpreted Sally's post. I think she truly was curious. She has been on her long enough to recognize her as a very giving and helpful person and not one to criticize others. It is an interesting discussion.
    I can't give blood because of difficulties before so tried to set up directed? blood from willing relatives and friends just to replenish the bank and/or see if they were a match for me. It was a logistical nightmare but I kept trying with calls to literally three states. I kept being told the blood bank is so safe so don't worry. So I decided to let that be one less thing to worry about. I needed 6 units during surgery and a week later 4 more so I truly hope all the people I urged to just give blood and not in my behalf did so. It's interesting how this seems to be changing over the years about giving blood for yourself. I certainly think it makes sense to be as strong as possible before surgery w/o having recently given blood that could compromise you in anyway. I am no authority at all--just telling my experience. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    I have one more thing to say about blood shortages and then I will quit this discussion. Blood is shipped all over the country so that if there is a shortage of blood say in the Boston area, blood is shipped say from Minneapolis to Boston. The American Red Cross does an amazing job, so everyone, donate when you can. Because I couldn't donate prior to my surgery, I received 6 units of bank blood besides the 2 units of my own blood from the cell saver during my surgery. I have since donated 4 pints of blood and plan to continue as long as I am able. Over the years, I have donated at least 3 gallons of blood, not that I am patting myself on the back, because I know people who have donated 30 or more gallons of blood. My thanks to all the blood donors out there that donated blood for my surgery.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Hear hear!

    I have never donated blood because I've always been such a sook about needles but that's changed somewhat this year. I would definitely like to become a donor especially as I was a recipient but, question for you Sally: How far out from surgery is it reasonable to make my first donation?
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Quote Originally Posted by loves to skate View Post
    I have one more thing to say about blood shortages and then I will quit this discussion. Blood is shipped all over the country so that if there is a shortage of blood say in the Boston area, blood is shipped say from Minneapolis to Boston. The American Red Cross does an amazing job, so everyone, donate when you can. Because I couldn't donate prior to my surgery, I received 6 units of bank blood besides the 2 units of my own blood from the cell saver during my surgery. I have since donated 4 pints of blood and plan to continue as long as I am able. Over the years, I have donated at least 3 gallons of blood, not that I am patting myself on the back, because I know people who have donated 30 or more gallons of blood. My thanks to all the blood donors out there that donated blood for my surgery.
    Sally
    Sally,

    I donated blood quite a few times before surgery. I've been thinking that it's almost one year post op and I'd like to give again. I received one unit of my own, and 2 units--one from my husband and one from my son. I was wondering recently if we're allowed to give with the implants in our spine, but I guess the answer is yes if you've done so. Thanks for the reminder, I will call next week and ask about donating.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

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