Less blood required post surgery

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A research conducted by Institute of National Heart and Lung and Blood proved that less blood is required by the patients after their surgery. The study proved that there will be no ill effect if there is delay in blood transfusion. Problem arises when the patients develop symptoms of anemia or if the blood concentration falls below the level of 8g/dl. Co author as well as member of FOCUS steering committee, Dr. William Macaulay, says that this research has helped in resolving the debate on “how much blood is required by the patients post surgery”. More often it is seen that blood transfusions are not necessary, including sick and elderly patients.

The implications of reducing the blood transfusions are enormous as this will decrease the blood use and save large amount of money. 14.6 units of blood are used in blood transfusion every year in United States of America. Around 60-70% of the blood transfusion is given to the patients while they are undergoing surgery and the majority of blood transfusion is given to the older patients. Normally human beings have 12g/dl as their blood count, but if the blood count falls below this level and if the patient shows symptoms of anemia, physicians adopt giving blood transfusions to such patients.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, “a blood transfusion is a safe, common procedure in which blood is given to you through an intravenous (IV) line in one of your blood vessels. Blood transfusions are done to replace blood lost during surgery or due to a serious injury. A transfusion also may be done if your body can’t make blood properly because of an illness.”

A much restrictive approach is embraced by the medical community on blood transfusion post surgery. It has become important for the physicians to evaluate the patients before blood transfusion as they should not solely rely on the hemoglobin level. Dr. Macaulay says that the patient’s body often tells when it requires blood. As per the findings of “Transfusion Requirements in Critical Care Investigators” in the year 1999, the 7g/dl blood transfusion threshold had similar outcome to 10g/dl blood transfusion threshold for the patients admitted to intensive care unit.  FOCUS found no evidence of increased rates of heart attacks, death, and heart failure in the liberal group despite the anecdotal evidence.


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