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Am J Cardiol. 2006 Nov 1;98(9):1223-5. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Comparisons of cardiac surgery outcomes in Jehovah's versus Non-Jehovah's Witnesses.

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Section of Cardiac Surgery, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC, USA.


Jehovah's Witnesses is a Christian faith whose members will not accept blood or blood products under any circumstances on the basis of religious grounds. To date, no comparative studies have evaluated the outcome of open heart surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses compared with patients who accept the transfusion of blood products. The present study was conducted to systematically compare the operative mortality and early clinical outcome after open cardiac surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses versus non-Jehovah's Witnesses. From January 1990 to July 2004, 49 Jehovah's Witness patients underwent cardiac surgery, and their data were compared with those of a contemporaneous control group of 196 non-Jehovah's Witnesses. Logistic regression analysis was used to compare operative mortality, postoperative intensive care unit care, and hospital length of stay between the 2 groups, controlling for preoperative risk factors. The Jehovah's Witnesses were matched in a 1:4 ratio to the non-Jehovah's Witnesses using propensity scores. No significant differences were identified in unadjusted stroke (p = 0.5), acute myocardial infarction (p = 0.6), new-onset atrial fibrillation (p = 0.106), prolonged ventilation (p = 0.82), acute renal failure (p = 0.70), and hemorrhage-related reexploration (p = 0.59) rates between the 2 groups. On multivariate analysis, Jehovah's Witnesses had operative mortality (odds ratio 0.66, 95% confidence interval 0.12 to 3.59, p = 0.63), intensive care unit stay (odds ratio 1.36, 95% confidence interval 0.46 to 3.97, p = 0.58), and postoperative length of stay (odds ratio 1.43, 95% confidence interval 0.92 to 2.20, p = 0.16) comparable to those of the non-Jehovah's Witnesses, after controlling for preoperative risk factors through matching. In conclusion, cardiac surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses is associated with clinical outcomes comparable to those of non-Jehovah's Witnesses by adhering to blood conservation protocols.

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