Blood Transfusion Refusal Poses No Risk in Cardiac Patients
The study suggests that blood transfusions in and of themselves carry under-recognized risks that offset risks from refusing blood transfusions, says Pattakos, who now is a general surgery resident at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
He cautions that the results should not be overinterpreted, because the topic requires much more research for validation.
He emphasizes, however, that surgeons should give the idea of transfusion a lot more thought for each patient, rather than acting with "a knee-jerk reaction when a particular (hemoglobin or hematocrit) level is reached."
For Jehovah's Witness patients undergoing cardiac surgery, common strategies include initiating doses of the drug erythropoietin and iron and B-complex vitamins, hemoconcentation and minimal crystalloid use, intraoperative use of antifibrinolytics and cell saver and smaller cardiopulmonary bypass circuits, and postoperative liberal use of additional operations for bleeding, the researchers wrote.
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