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Grant for cell salvage research

Posted: 9 November 2012 by Rob Dabrowski

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has been awarded a £50,100 grant for cell salvage research.

Blood cells
The National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia has awarded the money to carry out research into the possibilities of cell salvage during ‘normal’ deliveries.

The grant has been awarded to consultant anaesthetist Catherine Ralph, who is part of the trust's blood conservation team.

It is anticipated that the project will start in December and run for 12 months.

The team will look at whether blood lost from women who have given birth vaginally can be collected and whether or not it will be suitable for re-infusion.
 
Every year around six women suffer major obstetric haemorrhage during vaginal deliveries in the trust and many more may need treatment for lower level loss.

Cathy said: ‘We are not able to use cell salvage on these women currently and despite our active blood conservation measures, they are likely to become anaemic and need a blood transfusion.

‘If we could offer some of these women their own recycled blood back then we could reduce the need for donor blood transfusion.'

She continued: ‘This is a pilot programme of just 50 samples. My aim is to be able to say "we can collect it and this is how".

‘I want to be able to show the blood isn’t contaminated and it is suitable for re-infusion. The next stage, perhaps the next study, would be to look at actually re-infusing.’

While the research will benefit women who have vaginal deliveries, the trust has been using cell salvage with women having caesarean sections for the last three years.

The cell salvage work is part of the larger maternity blood conservation programme, which involves treating anaemia prior to birth to ensure women are in the best possible health to start with.

It then moves on to conserving blood if necessary during delivery and treating anaemia with various methods, including iron infusion after delivery.

John Faulds, blood conservation co-ordinator at the trust, said: ‘We are thrilled Cathy was successful in her grant bid.

‘We have a good history of research work here. Our team currently has the biggest case study of iron level patients in the world and Cathy’s research is the first time that kind of study has been done. This is a good thing for the trust.'