Autologous, homologous, and heterologous red blood cell transfusions in conures of the genus Aratinga

Laurel A. Degernes, Lori D. Harrison, Debbie W. Smith, Heide M. Newton, Christine E. Ross, Duarte E. Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The survival of transfused red blood cells (RBCs) may be short in donor birds receiving heterologous transfusions, and increased risk of mortality may occur after multiple heterologous transfusions. The purpose of this study was to determine the survival of RBCs labeled with fluorescent stain after a single heterologous transfusion between conures of the genus Aratinga. Fifteen sun conures (Aratinga solstitialis) were equally divided into three transfusion groups: an autologous or control group (transfusion to same bird), a homologous group (sun conure to sun conure), and a heterologous group (white-eyed conure [Aratinga leucophthalmus] to sun conure). Donor blood (1 ml) was centrifuged to remove the plasma. The washed RBCs were labeled with a fluorescent stain and transfused into recipient sun conures. Serial blood samples were analyzed using flow cytometry to measure fluorescent-labeled RBCs remaining in circulation over time. The half-life of labeled RBCs was shorter in the heterologous group (4.5 days) than in the autologous and homologous groups (9.9 and 8.5 days, respectively); however, these differences were not statistically significant. We conclude that the half-life of RBCs after a single heterologous transfusion between conures in the genus Aratinga is comparable to that after a single autologous or homologous transfusion in conures. Whenever possible, homologous blood donors should be used for anemic birds requiring transfusions. However, when a homologous donor is not available and a healthy donor bird from the same genus is available, a single heterologous transfusion may be efficacious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-14
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Aratinga species
  • Autologous
  • Conures
  • Half-life
  • Heterologous
  • Homologous
  • Red blood cell transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals


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