This slim volume is designated no. 8 in a series on thoracic surgery honoring the late John Alexander, chest surgeon at the University of Michigan.
The monograph reports on almost 1,000 autotransfusions of whole blood in about 520 surgical patients, 458 of whom had chest operations at the Chicago State Tuberculosis Sanitarium beginning in 1961.
The usual procedure was removal of one to two units of blood from each patient four to five days preoperatively, and then transfusing the same blood to each patient during, or soon after, the elective operation.
The authors list these advantages of autologous transfusion: (1) avoidance of hazards of homologous blood, especially incompatibility and viral hepatitis; (2) the physician is freed of "the one-unit onus" of borderline indications for blood administration; (3) reduced demand on limited blood bank stores; and (4) elimination of donor and processing costs.
While one would expect a priori that autologous