By Chris Conrad
The days of a heart-surgery patient leaving the hospital pumped full of someone else's blood are over at Rogue Regional Medical Center.
The hospital has spearheaded a push to cut down on the amount of blood transfusions it doles out during open-heart surgeries.
To do this, technicians are using a device called TEG, short for Thrombelastograph Hemostasis Analyzer. The test gives heart surgeons a real-time view of what's happening with a patient's blood as he or she lies on the operating table. "We're on a big campaign to reduce the amount of blood we use," said Dr. Charles Carmeci of Asante Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons. "We do not give a patient any more blood than we absolutely have to."
The campaign has its roots in the hospital's dealings with Jehovah's Witness patients. Their religion bars them from receiving blood transfusions.
Doctors who performed heart surgeries on Jehovah's Witnesses were forced to make do without the transfusions. It provided a good training ground for the new policy. "Working on the Jehovah's Witnesses helped us push the envelope on what we could do," Carmeci said.
Then along came data that suggested blood transfusions were hard on the body, leading to increased mortality rates for patients who received them during surgeries....
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