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Patient Blood Management Strategies and Techniques

Patient blood management is a patient-centered, evidence-based approach to eliminating unnecessary blood transfusions.

In addition to our six-point patient blood management plan, the bloodless medicine service has become an integral part of the patient blood management program. Our bloodless medicine service treats patients who refuse transfusions with dignity and respect. Bloodless medicine 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.

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.

UPMC offers the following blood management strategies and techniques:

Preoperative correction of anemia

A significant number of patients requiring elective surgery have anemia (low blood counts). Determining the cause of the anemia is essential in determining appropriate treatment, which can include the use of nutrition, iron, vitamins, and pharmaceutical agents.

Intraoperative blood cell recovery and reinfusion

This technology captures blood lost during surgery, cleans it, and reinfuses it to the patient.

Hemodilution

This procedure involves removing a specific amount of blood before surgery, immediately replacing it with intravenous fluids, and then returning it to the patient after surgery. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the need for blood transfusions during surgery.

Thrombin and adhesives

The use of human-derived and synthetic products supports the body’s ability to clot, reducing bleeding during surgery.

Meticulous surgical techniques, minimally invasive surgery, and electrocautery

The use of smaller surgical instruments and incisions helps reduce blood loss during surgery. Surgeons can perform many procedures — joint replacements, heart and cancer surgeries, even organ transplants — without needing to use banked blood. Learn more about bloodless surgery.