“I will only accept blood from my own veins or from my Aunt Margo! That’s it!” Autologous and directed blood donations happen much less often in 2019 than in the past, but should they still happen at all?

Dr. Julie Karp image

Dr. Julie Karp

For patients who might need blood transfusion, the ideas of donating their own blood (“autologous donation”) and/or choosing their blood donor (“directed donation”) seem VERY appealing! However, as Julie Karp describes, both practices have declined precipitously in recent years.

But Why??

Back in the 1980’s, HIV was a newly discovered virus and we had no test for the virus we now know as hepatitis C. Patients back then were very interested in making blood transfusion as safe as possible. As a result, the frequency of both autologous and directed donations increased dramatically! However, HIV transmission through blood is now spectacularly rare, and blood has never been safer from viruses. Does it still make sense to pursue either type of blood donation? In this interview, Dr. Karp explains the pros and cons of these “special blood collections,” and shows us why they are not always a great idea. She also outlines situations where either type of donation might still actually be helpful.

Obviously, if mom’s an O and daughter’s an A, I’m not giving daughter’s A blood to mom. I don’t care how much you love her! Hemolysis doesn’t care!
ABO, unfortunately, trumps love!

Julie Karp, MD

About My Guest:

Julie Katz Karp, MD, is Medical Director of the Blood Bank at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology, and she is the Program Director for the Transfusion Medicine Fellowship. Dr. Karp also oversees the Thomas Jefferson Blood Donor Center.

Dr. Karp has served on numerous national committees, including those of the AABB and the College of American Pathologists. Her academic interests include undergraduate and graduate medical education specifically related to Transfusion Medicine, as well as blood donor health and recruitment.

Free CE

This podcast episode offers a FREE continuing education activity where you can earn the following types of credit: 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM, 1 ASCLS P.A.C.E. ® Contact Hour (including Florida Clinical Laboratory Credit), and American Board of Pathology Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) for Continuing Certification (CC, formerly MOC).

To receive credit and review the accreditation information and related disclosures, please visit Transfusion News Continuing Education on Wiley Health Learning.

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this episode are those of my guest and I alone. Those opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the organizations with which either of us is affiliated. This podcast does not constitute formal medical advice. Please discuss all medical issues and decisions with your local health care providers. Neither Dr. Karp nor I have any relevant financial disclosures.

The images below are generously provided by Dr. Julie Karp.

Slide 1 - Pros and Cons of Directed Donation
Slide 2 - Details about Autologous Donation

Music Credit

Music for this episode includes “Cuando te invade el temor” and “Reflejo,” both by Mar Virtual via the Free Music Archive. Click the image below for permissions and license details.
Creative Commons license and link

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