By: 20 December 2012

The National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia has funded research at the Royal Cornwall Hospital involving collecting and returning blood lost during childbirth.

This ‘cell salvage’ is only offered to women undergoing caesarean section at this hospital. The procedure involves collecting the blood in a sterile container using suction equipment, processing it, as would be done with blood collected during a sterile operation, and checking it for bacterial contamination before it is returned to the woman.

Consultant Obstetrician Rob Holmes believes there are plentiful reasons to avoid a transfusion of other people’s blood to patients and to favour returning their own.