Blood gets recycled at Ipswich Hospital

NEW equipment in operating theatres is today helping Ipswich Hospital recycle blood.

NEW equipment in operating theatres is today helping Ipswich Hospital recycle blood.

Nationally, blood is in short supply and the government has instructed hospitals to conserve resources.

The Heath Road hospital has invested in two new intra-operative cell salvage machines to collect and clean blood lost during operations and return it safely back to the patient.

The hospital now has three of the machines, which will be used during a variety of operations, including maternity and gynaecology, orthopaedics, and vascular surgery procedures.

Each unit of blood costs the hospital around �140 to buy to cover the costs of collection, testing and processing of blood and blood products.

Sharon Kaznica, the hospital's blood transfusion specialist, said: “The machine extracts the blood from the open wound and filters it. Anticoagulant is used to stop the blood from clotting, the process separates the red blood cells by spinning the blood that has been collected.

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“It can then be transfused straight back into the patient.”

The machines cost �5,000 each and a local group of Jehovah's Witnesses covered the cost of one.

While Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, they support the use of the machines as the blood can be adapted to be a continuous cycle as it leaves and re-enters the body.

The hospital has owned one similar machine since 2006 but the addition of two more means it can host one in each of its three main theatre areas, and use them on up to three times as many patients.

Mrs Kaznica, who has worked at the hospital for 32 years, said: “Blood is a scarce resource and the hospital is doing all it can to conserve supplies. By introducing innovations such as cell salvage and pre- assessment clinics we are not only conserving the resource but also addressing patients' preferences.”

Have you been treated using one of the machines? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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