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​Blood Management and Bloodless Surgery Video Transcript

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Blood Management and Bloodless Surgery

Jonathan H. Waters, MD
Director, Perioperative Blood Management Program

Blood management is a variety of techniques that we use during a surgical procedure that minimizes, eliminates the need for transfusion therapy.

Preoperative care

Within the UPMC system we have several centers for preoperative optimization of patients for surgery; and within those centers they can measure your blood counts to make sure you’re not anemic prior to going into a surgery, as well as recommend the stopping of certain drugs and herbal supplements that might interfere with your coagulation function during your surgical procedure.

A spectrum of techniques

Our goal is to educate our patients about patient blood management, which is the full spectrum of techniques that can be applied before and during and after a surgical procedure that would allow them to avoid a transfusion. 

The most important thing is to pick a technically proficient surgeon to perform your procedure. But in many circumstances the surgery may have a major blood loss just by the nature of the surgical procedure itself. In those circumstances what we can do is we collect the shed blood, wash it, filter it, and re-administer right back into you. 

Other things that we can do: We can maintain your temperature; we can also maintain your pH balance. Those two things interfere with your clotting function and lead to more bleeding, and so by focusing on those things we can reduce the amount of blood loss and reduce the amount of transfusion therapy needed.

Being proactive

One of our educational challenges is to make sure that all of our patients understand their rights to have patient blood management techniques applied for their surgical procedures. 

These techniques apply to all patients, whether they are undergoing major blood loss surgery, or if they are patients that refuse transfusion. They all have a right to demand these particular procedures.

The advantage that we’ve seen at UPMC for our patients when they undergo blood management therapy is we see, for many of them, a shorter length of stay for their hospitalization, we see fewer infections, we see fewer complications. Frankly, many of them just do better.

For more information, please call us at 1-877-674-7111.