Patients Who Undergo Surgery Require Less Blood

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Contrary to the popular belief, it’s been found that patients who undergo surgery require much less blood than it’s believed. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine led by Dr. Jeffery Carson, Richard C. Reynolds – professor of Medicine of the UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ – there are apparently no negative ramifications from postponing transfusion of blood unless patients show signs of anemia.

The study, funded by the National heart and Lung Blood Institute, will help resolve the debate about the quantity of blood patients will need after a surgery. The reduced number of blood transfusions will save patients on an enormous amount of money. The study also revealed that blood transfusions aren’t really as necessary as deemed to be – even for sick patients and the elderly.

This study comes at a time when, in the U.S alone, over 15 million units of blood are transferred. It’s usually the individuals who underwent a surgery who account for over 60-70% of the blood transfusions. The older patients are, the more blood transfusions are accounted for them.

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, blood transfusion is a safe, common practice of transferring blood through an IV (Intravenous line). This is done to replace blood lost during an injury or surgery.

The study utilized over 2000 participants who were aged 50+ with a history of cardiovascular disease. The participants – with the median age of 82 – were put into two different groups. One of these groups received a blood transfusion as their hemoglobin level tanked below 10g/dL and the other group only received blood transfusions only they reached anemic levels or at a physician’s discretion when their hemoglobin levels tanked even lower than 8 g/dL where it’s considered critical.

Currently, there are no alternatives to human blood. Surgeons collect and re- administer the blood to patients or they restrict blood loss using medicines or surgical procedures. The study, as such, will help in minimizing the need to do blood transfusions unless it’s absolutely necessary for the patient.



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