Blood conservation program FAQs

What is blood conservation?

Blood conservation is the appropriate provision and use of blood, its components and derivatives, and strategies to reduce or avoid the need for avoid the need for transfusion of blood cells or blood products.

Why choose blood conservation?

Blood conservation enhances patient care by applying evidence-based strategies to make appropriate use of transfusion therapy and reduce patient exposure to blood transfusions. People often do better if we can avoid giving them blood.

How do I find a doctor?

All physicians at PeaceHealth Southwest are able to care for you respecting your refusal of blood. Talk with your physician about your wishes and their level of comfort treating you within these parameters. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the Blood Conservation Program at (360) 514-6766.

What can be done to prevent blood loss during surgery?

Certain medications or nutritional supplements may affect the way you bleed or clot and may need to be discontinued or restricted with physician permission. Have a complete blood count (CBC) taken 30 – 45 days before an elective surgery. If you are anemic, the following medications may be used depending on your circumstances and medical conditions: Synthetic Erythropoietin (Procrit), Iron Therapy (oral and intravenous), Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, and Vitamin C. In addition, there are different surgical devices, medications, and techniques that can be used by the surgeon and anesthesiologist during surgery to reduce blood loss as well. Not all medications and treatments are appropriate for every patient or surgery, so talk with your doctor to find out what treatments are available to you.

How do I prepare myself for surgery so that I will lose less blood?

Find a surgeon who respects your decision for bloodless treatment/blood conservation. Talk with the physician about what will be done to lose as little blood during surgery as possible and make sure there is a team he/she can rely on for post surgical care. Inform physician of all the drugs and supplements you currently take as these can affect bleeding and clotting of blood. Eat a diet rich in iron.

What should I ask my doctor regarding my options in surgery with a focus on transfusion free care?
  • What would you like me to do to prepare for my particular surgery?
  • Should I do anything prior to surgery that will assist in reducing my blood loss?
  • What do you plan on doing during surgery that will reduce or prevent blood loss?
  • What is the product or drug made from that you plan to use and is this consistent with my decisions on the use of blood fractions? (Some medications, such as Procrit have traces of minor fractions)
  • Is the anesthesiologist prepared to take care of me in this surgery respecting my refusal of blood?
  • Do you have any questions for me regarding what I will be willing to accept and not accept when it comes to fractions of blood components or devices that will use my own blood?