Modification of Suction-Induced Hemolysis During Cell Salvage

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The efficiency of red blood cell collection during cell salvage is dictated by multiple variables, including suction pressure. In this study, we attempted to determine the influence of suction pressure on the efficiency of cell salvage and to identify methods for minimizing the impact of suction on salvaged blood.


Whole blood was placed in 60-mL aliquots either in a beaker or on a flat surface and suctioned at 100 and 300 mm Hg. The amount of hemolysis was measured and compared under the varying conditions. The experiments were repeated with the blood diluted with normal saline solution in a 1:1 mix.


Hemolysis ranged from 0.21% to 2.29%. Hemolysis was greatest when whole blood was suctioned from a flat surface at 300 mm Hg. It was reduced when the blood was diluted with saline. Blood suctioned from a surgical field during cell salvage should be done with minimal suction pressures and with the goal of minimizing blood–air interfaces.


Significant reduction of blood damage can be obtained by diluting blood with normal saline while suctioning it from the surgical field. Although immediate hemolysis due to suctioning was not very high, the red blood cell damage from suctioning produced by a dynamic blood–air interface might adversely affect the efficiency of cell salvage.

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