There are many misconceptions about blood management in surgery. Number one being that many times we only pursue blood conservation and blood management strategies in patients for religious or personal reasons, in fact we pursue these strategies in every patient being considered for surgery at UPMC.
Another common misconception is that we actually have artificial blood. The only way to get someone’s hemoglobin up acutely is with blood transfusion. Blood transfusion is not without risks so we take it very seriously. At this date we have no artificial blood substitute.
A third misconception about blood management is that all open heart operations require transfusion. Although this was very common in the past, many times today we can manage patients with open-heart procedures with no transfusion whatsoever.
Many people also assume that we only give consideration for transfusion in the operating room while the time the surgery is actually being performed, when in fact, we start thinking about this the minute we meet the patient in consideration of their preoperative status, what operation they’re going to have, the level of anemia that that patient has, and the urgency of the operation. This is carried all the way up until the patient leaves the hospital.
With all the strategies that are employed with blood management today many people believe that blood transfusion is never necessary. Although we have been able to cut down significantly on the number of transfusions, occasionally given the urgency of the operation, the patient’s preoperative status, transfusion is still required from time to time.
Top Five Misconceptions About Patient Blood Management
Chris Cook, MD, debunks five common misconceptions about patient blood management.