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Question:

What alternatives to blood transfusions do you provide for patients needing open heart surgery?

My father is scheduled to have a triple bypass surgery. As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, he does not accept blood. This doesn't mean that he doesn't want the best help care provided for him. He just wants the best health care without blood.  What alternatives to blood do you provide? Cell Saver? etc.

submitted by Howard from Oakdale, Louisiana on 1/14/2013

Answer:

James J. Livesay, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiovascular surgeon, James J. Livesay, MD  

Patients of JHW faith will accept use of a pump to circulate blood necessary for many open heart surgical procedures. They also agree to the use of cell saver devices to re-circulate their own blood shed during surgery.  Some procedures can be done without the use of the pump such as off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB). This is associated with a lower dose of anticoagulant drugs and less blood loss. Some patients are not candidates for OPCAB for technical reasons. Cell savers help to reduce blood loss with OPCAB procedures. Saline is used for volume replacement in most cases. 

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Updated January 2013
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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