Best Life: Bloodless heart surgery

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 6:23 AM CDT
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SINAI, NY (Ivanhoe Newswire) - There are 500,000 open heart surgeries in the US every year, and half of those patients require a blood transfusion.

What if you’ve had a complication during a transfusion in the past and want an alternative like bloodless heart surgery?

It is a major, life-saving procedure, but it can also cause significant blood loss – open heart surgery presents special challenges for patients who must avoid blood transfusions.

Cardiovascular surgeon doctor John Puskas says one key is to prepare well before the patient is wheeled into the operating room.

“We give patients something called erythropoietin – a hormone that increases their blood counts before surgery,” John Puskas, MD., Cardiovascular Surgeon, Mount Sinai, New York.

For bypass patients, Dr. Puskas and his colleagues can use a new surgical technique.

“We do this all arterial, no aortic touch operation, meaning we don’t connect any of the bypass grafts to the aorta.”

By avoiding the aorta, doctors minimize blood loss. The no-touch bypass surgery means they can also avoid putting a patient on a heart-lung machine, which lowers the risk of blood loss. If patients do lose blood, doctors use a medical procedure to safely recycle it.

“Washed centrifuge and returned to the patient, so that we use these cell savers or cell salvage devices in the operating room,” said Puskas, MD.

Some People want to avoid transfusions for religious reasons or have allergic reactions to blood during transfusions.

There are now about 100 hospitals in the US with specialized programs that can accommodate bloodless or transfusion-free surgeries.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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