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Frequently Asked Questions About Patient Blood Management and Bloodless Medicine

What Is Patient Blood Management? What Is Bloodless Medicine? Are They Different?

Patient blood management

Patient blood management is a patient-oriented approach to avoiding unnecessary blood transfusions. With patient blood management, multiple strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for transfusions are employed.

While patient blood management results in decreased transfusions, transfusions are still reserved as an option to be used when necessary in the patient’s care.

Bloodless medicine and surgery

Bloodless medicine and surgery refers to the care of patients who refuse to allow blood transfusions to be used in their care.

Very often, the decision to refuse transfusions is a reflection of the religious or cultural beliefs of the patient. These wishes and beliefs deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

The difference

Patient blood management strategies and techniques can clinically support a patient’s decision not to allow transfusions. However, a patient’s decision to refuse transfusions also may involve added risks.

A patient who chooses bloodless medicine and surgery therefore accepts the responsibility for any consequences — positive or negative — that may develop from his or her decision.

What Is the Relationship Between UPMC’s Patient Blood Management Program and the UPMC Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Services?

As an integral part of the patient blood management program, the bloodless medicine program treats patients who refuse transfusions with dignity and respect. Bloodless medicine and surgery involves the same principles as patient blood management with the only difference being that, for these patients, transfusion is not a last resort — it is not an option at all.

Bloodless medicine patients will benefit by our efforts to reduce transfusions throughout the system. The patient blood management committee may provide guidance to the bloodless medicine program and to the medical staff who treat bloodless medicine patients. In turn, our efforts to reduce transfusions throughout UPMC are rewarded when treating patients who refuse blood transfusions.

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