Is blood conservation optimally utilized?

W. J. DeBois, J. P. Gold, O. W. Isom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Blood conservation and the subsequent prevention of transfusion have assumed an increasingly important role in cardiac surgery. The concern is one of preventing transmission of transfusion related diseases and of conserving an extremely valuable resource (1,2). Cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass has become the most common operation performed, thus attracting much analysis of transfusion practices. It is estimated that of the approximately 250,000 cardiopulmonary bypass procedures done in the United States each year, the majority require transfusion of blood products (3). It has been calculated that the cardiac surgery services throughout the United States use somewhat over 10% of all the blood product resources that are transfused in this country (4,5). Many methods of blood conservation have been described (Table 1), but there still exists a wide variance in blood product utilization for adult patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass procedures. A review of the literature reveals average packed red blood cell transfusion rates from 0.3 up to 8 units per patient (4,6-8). If we further add the transfusion of platelets, fresh frozen plasma, and cryoprecipitate, the total donor exposure to the patient goes up substantially more. A varied patient population has been cited as the reason for these discrepancies but it has been demonstrated in similarly matched groups of patients receiving transfusions, that the patterns were based to some extent upon 'prevailing practice' rather than on need (9,10). The purpose of this study was to identify which methods of blood conservation were being practiced in a major metropolitan area within the United States where the risk of transfusion related disease is relatively high. Secondly, to stratify the frequency of use of particular blood conservation methods in order to estimate how often a particular method was utilized and by what percentage of respondents. Finally, to increase the awareness of the options and difficulties associated with current modalities of transfusion practice and blood conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-97
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Extra-Corporeal Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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