Bloodless Heart Surgery Risk Overstated

Mon, 07/09/2012 - 5:24am

Patients who refuse blood transfusions during cardiac surgery may not necessarily be at an increased risk for surgical complications or long-term mortality, researchers found.

Compared with patients who had transfusions, Jehovah's Witnesses -- a religious group that forbids blood sharing -- had significantly lower rates of myocardial infarction, additional operations for bleeding, and prolonged ventilation, as well as shorter hospital stays, Colleen Koch, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues reported online in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

They also had significantly better 1-year survival (P=0.007) and comparable 20-year survival, they reported.

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