Literally, “derived or transferred from the same individual’s body.” In blood banking, autologous transfusions (or transplantations) are ones in which the donor and recipient are the same person. There are multiple ways for autologous transfusions to occur, from pre-operative autologous blood donation (a person comes to a donor center and gives a unit or more of his/her own blood for use during surgery) to intra-operative blood collection/salvage (blood removed from the surgery site is given back to the patient, sometimes referred to as “cell saver” blood) to post-operative blood collection (blood draining from surgery sites is given back to the patient). Note that this term is the opposite of the term “allogeneic” (and the rarely used “homologous“). Finally, students should note that preoperative autologous blood units may not be used by anyone other than the patient (except in isolated, rare situations of extreme need); this contrasts to directed units.

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