With increasing demands for blood transfusions, the costs and shortages, clinically relevant risks and doubts on the efficacy, blood conservation is an important issues. Among the available methods cell salvage is of great importance as it has proven effective and safe. The high availability and cost efficacy allows fast processing of at least half of the lost red blood cells. The method has wide applications in cardiac and vascular surgery, in abdominal and transplantation surgery, in orthopedics and emergency medicine, in massive hemorrhage and for Jehovah's Witnesses, and by the use of blood irradiation also in cancer surgery. Cell salvage provides autologous, washed, unstored red blood cells with unimpaired function and viability, avoiding immunological reactions and storage damage, for optimal hemotherapy. No restrictions in the indication for transfusion are necessary, thus allowing real therapy of anemia. The high quality of salvaged blood should be assured by a quality management including quality controls.
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