The basic function is as follows: At the “business end,” where the surgeon is making incisions, a technician will suction the blood out of the surgical field using a special type of suction tube, somewhat like the implement the dentist’s assistant uses to suck the fluid out of the patient's mouth when the dentist is drilling. Instead of the aspirated blood simply being flushed down a sink, however, it passes through tubing and is collected in a reservoir. At the same time as the suction occurs, an anticoagulant is introduced into the line. When enough blood has been collected in the reservoir it is sent to the cell salvage machine, resembling in no small way a washing machine/spin drier. The blood is filtered, then spun in a centrifuge, causing the RBCs to separate from the plasma and stick to the sides of the centrifuge bowl. The plasma goes into a waste bag, and a wash fluid (0.9% normal saline) is introduced into the machine to remove platelets and debris. The washed RBCs are then pumped up to a transfusion bag from where they are returned to the patient through an IV in the usual way.
NoBlood Article Cell Saver