Dr. Denton Cooley performed the first bloodless heart surgery in 1962. Since that time, bloodless surgeries and blood conservation programs have typically been reserved for patients who rejected blood transfusions for religious reasons. Recently, mainstream patients are becoming more attracted to these techniques due to fear of diseases that can be traced to blood transfusions.
When these concerns arise, some physicians pursue a bloodless surgical route, prescribing drugs that raise blood levels before an operation, using blood diversion techniques during procedures and employing other methods to conserve a patient’s own blood.Today, there are more than 100 hospitals in the United States with blood management programs. In 2002, that number was only 70.
A Need for Bloodless Surgery?As patient awareness about the risks of blood transfusions increase, so does the demand for bloodless surgery.
In fact, the statistics for blood transfusion can be alarming when it comes to health. Heart surgery patients are twice as likely to die during the first 30 days of hospitalization if they receive a blood transfusion for anemia, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Heart bypass patients who receive blood transfusions are also twice as likely to acquire an infection after their operation, according to a study in the journal BMC Medicine. Overall, the study found that 16% of patients who received a transfusion developed an infection after their operation, as compared to 7% of patients who did not have a blood transfusion acquired an infection. Additionally, the risk of contracting hepatitis B is about 1 in 205,000, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and the risk for hepatitis C is 1 in 2 million. The Institute states that if a patient receives blood during a transfusion that contains hepatitis, he or she will most likely develop the virus.
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By: Jessica Grogan, MDNews.com
Friday, April 15, 2011