Transfusion Services

St. Clair Hospital’s Transfusion Services provides 24-hour services to all patients.

Accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks, Transfusion Services tests, validates and transfuses a multitude of blood components including red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate and platelets. If you are scheduled for surgery and might need a blood transfusion, there are several options available to you:

Community blood supply

The community blood supply from the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh is a safe, reliable source of blood product.  Volunteer donors are healthy people who give blood to help others.  They are screened for health risks that could harm a patient and every single unit of donated blood is tested for transmitted viruses using the most sensitive, sophisticated tests available.  Any unit with a positive test result is destroyed.

Autologous donation

If you have elective surgery scheduled and are medically eligible, you might be able to give your own blood for later use. Giving blood for your own use is called “autologous” donation and is the safest transfusion option.  Some advantages of autologous donations include:

  • Eliminates the risk of transmitting viral diseases
  • Helps your body stimulate the production of red blood cells
  • Provides an acceptable alternative to transfusion for some members of religious groups opposed to receiving blood from another person

Some medical conditions will not allow you to make an autologous donation.  Ask your physician or call the Central Blood Bank’s special donations office at 412.209.7020 with any eligibility questions.

Before you can donate, please follow these instructions:

  1. Get a prescription from your surgeon that includes the following information:

    • Autologous transfusion
    • Date of surgery
    • Number of units needed
    • Type of blood product required
    • Hospital where the surgery will be performed
  2. Ask your physician to recommend an appropriate iron supplement for you.
  3. Call Central Blood Bank’s special donations office at 412.209.7020 to schedule your appointment at a convenient time and location. When you call, you’ll be scheduled to donate one unit at a time and you should wait at least seven days between donations. The Central Blood Bank conducts blood drives at St. Clair Hospital every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  4. Allow at least one hour for each donation.

Your autologous blood donation will be specifically tagged and bar coded with information about your hospital, date of surgery and other information necessary to get your blood to you when you need it.  If your surgery date is changed, please call Central Blood Bank’s special donations office so that alternative arrangements can be made. Because there are service and processing fees for autologous donations, you may want to contact your insurance carrier regarding your coverage.

Directed donations

If you are not able to make autologous donations, you might qualify for a directed donation, which allows your family members and friends to donate blood specifically for your use.  While there is no medical evidence that shows directed blood donations are safer than donations from the community blood supply, you might feel more comfortable selecting your own donors.  Directed donations might not be appropriate for emergency procedures since it takes time to fully test and process each unit of blood.

Before someone can donate on your behalf, please follow these instructions:

  • Obtain a prescription from your physician including the patient’s name, type and screen for directed donation, type and amount of blood product(s) needed, date required and hospital where the blood products should be sent.
  • Call Central Blood Bank’s special donation office at 412.209.7020 to schedule your appointment to have your blood sample collected for typing and antibody screening.  This can be done at St. Clair Hospital’s Blood Bank.
  • Begin to recruit family members and friends for the required number of blood products you will need.  It is important to recruit extra donors since some of the donors that you select might not have a compatible blood type.

    If your blood type is: Donors must be:
    O+  O+ or O-
    A+  A+, A-, O+ or O-
    B+  B+, B-, O+ or O-
    AB+ All blood types
    O-   O-
    A-    A- or O-
    B- B- or O-
    AB-  AB-, A-, B- or O-
  • After recruiting your donors, have them call the special donations office at 412.209.7020 to schedule their appointments.  When they call, they’ll need the name of the patient and the hospital where the patient will be treated.

Because there is a service fee for directed donations, you might want to contact your insurance carrier regarding your coverage.  Like donations from the general blood supply, direct donations must meet the same strict guidelines for safety, prior health history and high-risk activities.

If a directed donation meets all safety requirements but cannot be used for the intended patient, because of circumstances such as a change in the date of surgery, for instance, those units of blood might be used in the community blood supply so that the donation is not wasted.

More Information

For more information, contact St. Clair Hospital’s Blood Bank at 412.942.3860 or the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh at 1-866-DONORS or visit

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