The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on intraoperative red blood cell salvage during radical prostatectomy or radical cystectomy.

NICE considered the evidence relating to the efficacy and safety of intraoperative blood cell salvage in obstetrics (IPG144) and for intraoperative red blood cell salvage during radical prostatectomy or radical cystectomy (IPG258) in response to concerns expressed about theoretical risks associated with the procedure.  These concerns were the possibility of amniotic fluid embolism and haemolytic disease in future pregnancies when used in obstetrics, and reinfusion of malignant cells when used in radical prostatectomy/cystectomy.

The evidence relating to safety of cell salvage in these procedures was considered adequate and therefore NICE does not intend to review its use in other specific clinical situations unless notified of new indications for intraoperative cell salvage in which there may be new safety concerns

  • Description

    Intraoperative blood cell salvage involves the collection of the solid components of the blood lost during an operation which is then transfused back to the same patient.

  • OPCS4.6 Code(s)

    X36.4 Autologous blood salvage

    Where the salvaged cells are reinfused during the same procedure the following code is also assigned:

    X33.7 Autologous transfusion of red blood cells



    The NHS Classifications Service of the Health and Social Care Information Centre is the central definitive source for clinical coding guidance and determines the coding standards associated with the classifications (OPCS-4 and ICD-10) to be used across the NHS.  The NHS Classifications Service and NICE work collaboratively to ensure the most appropriate classification codes are provided.

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