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Am J Med Qual. 2006 Jul-Aug;21(4):230-7.

Developing a blood conservation program in cardiac surgery.

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  • 1Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


The beneficial effects of blood transfusions have been described and widely accepted. Multiple factors, including shortages, costs, infectious risks, immunologic risks, and the risk/benefit ratio to the patient, have made the medical community reassess the guidelines for transfusion. Cardiac surgery presents a unique subset of patients, because intervention at multiple stages in the care of these patients is possible to decrease the need for transfusion. An algorithm for a cardiac surgery program was developed and a reassessment performed. Once it was seen that no detrimental effect on patient care occurred, the program was expanded, was enhanced, and subsequently has been offered to the rest of the health care system. This program has resulted in a decrease in cost while maintaining patient outcomes. The success of the program is believed to be a result of the multidisciplinary approach taken, with a commitment from all members of the blood reduction team being the key component of this success.

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