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What are blood conservation strategies?

Certain high-risk patients having cardiac procedures benefit from blood conservation strategies (BCS), which decrease the need for postoperative blood transfusions. Major complications (including renal failure requiring dialysis, respiratory failure and even death) may occur among patients receiving two or more units of red blood cells.

Six variables stand out as important indicators of high-risk patients who may benefit from BCS:
  • advanced age
  • low preoperative red blood cell volume (preoperative anemia or small body size)
  • preoperative antiplatelet or antithrombotic drugs
  • reoperative or complex procedures
  • emergency operations
  • noncardiac patient comorbidities
Blood conservation techniques include:
  • drugs that increase preoperative blood volume or decrease postoperative bleeding
  • devices that conserve blood
  • interventions that protect the patient’s own blood from the stress of operation
  • institution-specific blood transfusion algorithms supplemented with point-of-care testing and most importantly
  • a multimodality approach to blood conservation combining all of the above.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.