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Patient Blood Management Frequently Asked Questions

Blood management is the appropriate provision and use of blood and its components and derivatives. It includes strategies to reduce or avoid the need for a blood transfusion.

For decades, doctors have been meeting the needs of patients who refuse blood transfusions. Recognizing certain benefits that these patients enjoyed, the field of blood management has developed over the past 10 years.

Blood management is associated with many benefits, such as:

  • Preserving the limited resource of donor blood.
  • Reducing health care costs.
  • Improving patient safety.
  • Reducing patients' length of stay in the hospital.
  • Reducing potential exposure to blood-borne disease.
  • Reducing the chances of hospital-acquired complications and infections.

The Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at UPMC uses several patient blood management strategies and techniques.

  • Preoperative correction of anemia: The use of nutrition, iron, vitamins, and pharmaceutical agents often can address anemia in patients requiring elective surgery.
  • Intraoperative blood cell recovery and reinfusion: Blood lost during surgery can be captured, cleaned, and returned to the patient.
  • Hemodilution: Blood is removed during surgery, replaced with intravenous fluids, and returned to the patient with the goal of reducing or eliminating the need for transfusions.
  • Minimally invasive surgery and electrocautery: Smaller incisions and surgical instruments reduce blood loss.
  • Thrombin and adhesives: Human-derived and synthetic products reduce bleeding by supporting the body’s ability to clot.

Yes.

UPMC has a six-point blood management program that is being implemented at each of its hospitals, and UPMC physicians have been at the forefront of physician education in patient blood management.

For further information, call the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery toll-free at 1-877-674-7111.

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