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Swab Washing

During surgery, up to 50% of blood loss is soaked up in surgical swabs. Some hospitals attempt to recover this blood by manually washing the blood soaked swabs in saline and directing the resulting solution to the ICS system.

 

Whilst this has been proven to increase blood recovery rates by up to 30% it  has not been widely adopted for a number of reasons including:

  • It is a time consuming and labour intensive process
  • The blood recovery rates are inconsistent and dependant on the enthusiasm of the person washing the swabs
  • It distracts the scrub nurse from their primary role of assisting the surgeon
  • It cannot be undertaken in orthopaedic procedures due to the potential presence of sharp bone fragments
  • It is associated with a number of health and safety hazards