When a significant amount of blood is lost due to surgery or other injury, that blood must be replaced. A blood transfusion is a treatment that replaces the lost blood with more blood. A blood transfusion can save lives, but it also increases risk. During a blood transfusion, patients are often exposed to blood from multiple donors. Although the U.S. blood supply is safer than ever before, some bacteria, viruses, prions, and parasites can be transmitted by blood transfusions. Additionally, some people have adverse reactions to blood transfusions. When a blood transfusion is required, we closely monitor the patient for potential adverse reactions.
Our goal is to reduce or avoid the need for a blood transfusion.
Alternatives to Blood Transfusions
As recommended by experts, we use several proactive treatment methods to avoid or minimize blood transfusions. Sometimes, several blood management strategies can be used at the same time. No single approach (drug, device, technique) is effective for everyone. It is important to develop an individualized plan of care for each patient.
- Anemia investigation and treatment before surgery.
- Precise surgical technique.
- The use of surgical devices to control bleeding.
- Medications to control bleeding and decrease blood loss during surgery.
- Minimally invasive technology.
- Blood salvage techniques to preserve a patient's own blood during surgery so that it can be returned to the patient.
- Positioning patients during surgery in a way that minimizes blood loss.
- Monitor and correct bleeding after surgery.
- Conserving a patient's own blood by minimizing blood sampling.
We manage the use of blood by educating physicians, nurses and patients about the use of blood products. We're familiar with current guidelines and act as the link between blood banks and nurses and physicians to ensure good use of blood supply.
Blood management improves patient outcomes and reduces the blood supply demand. Recent studies suggest that if blood management strategies are used and transfusion is reduced or avoided, patients have:
- Fewer complications and infections
- Faster recoveries
- Shorter hospital stays
- Stronger immune systems
- A decreased mortality rate