Preserved autologous transfusions have been performed for elective pulmonary and mediastinal surgery to prevent the adverse effects of homologous transfusions. Autologous blood was collected preoperatively from 144 patients. The collected blood volume ranged from 400 to 1,600 ml with a mean volume of 544 ml. In four patients with benign diseases, 1,200 to 1,600 ml of blood was collected using 3,000 U of intravenous recombinant human erythropoietin (rh-EPO) administered every other day. One hundred twenty- three of these patients (85 percent) did not require a homologous transfusion. In the 84 patients undergoing either a pneumonectomy, lobectomy, or segmentectomy, 68 (81 percent) avoided homologous blood exposure. A patient with rh-EPO who bled 2,000 g during surgery received an autotransfusion of only 1,400 ml and his postoperative course was uneventful. Preserved autologous blood collected after rh-EPO injections is an effective method for minimizing homologous blood transfusions in pulmonary and mediastinal surgery.
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