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Is there a specific title or certification to operate the cell-saver or autotransfusion device? Is this normally a member of the OR staff (in this case) that is cross trained in this discipline.
Hospitals provide blood salvage through several different "specialists" The vast majority of blood salvage in the United States is performed by OR circulating nurses and anesthesia technicians. Neither of these groups is generally provided adequate training to operate these devices safely nor do most hospitals have adequate policies and procedures outlining how the devices should be used. This makes for a dangerous situation. So, it's a sound idea to have dedicated personnel who have been adequately trained where the 10 quality system essentials that are outlined in the AABB's perioperative standards have been implemented.
Cleveland Clinic has created a new job category of "autotransfusion technician". These technicians were hired from the pool of surgical scrub techs and blood bank technicians.
Salary scales were compatible with these job classifications. The hourly rate is about $14/hour for the regular tech, and went up to $20/hr for the senior, "chief" tech.
A different staffing model is to use perfusionists or perfusion technicians. Perfusionists typically come with a hefty price, but the perfusion technician is an individual similar to a surgical scrub tech.
Blood salvage is typically below the capabilities of a perfusionist, but if the sophistication of the service moves beyond simple blood salvage to processes such as component sequestration, then a perfusionist may be needed
Jonathan Waters, MD