Spring 2008
Ask The Expert

Bradford Chervin, MD
Q: What is bloodless medicine?

Otolaryngologist (Specialist in medical and surgical treatments for patients with diseases and disorders of the ears, nose, throat, head and neck) Bradford Chervin, MD, responds:

A: Surgeons use blood transfusions for various medical situations. Traditionally, transfusions are used when a patient loses a significant amount of blood during a surgical procedure, childbirth or a serious injury.

Blood transfusions help patients maintain a certain level of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a component of red blood cells, and it is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Bloodless medicine and surgery is a term that describes the range of technologies used to maximize blood production while minimizing blood loss and the need for transfusions.

There are many personal reasons why patients choose transfusion-free medicine. Research has shown that the benefits include:

  • Less exposure to potential blood contaminants
  • Fewer transfusion-associated complications
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Faster healing and recovery

Many physicians treat patients who elect bloodless medicine and surgery. The decision is the patient’s, but it must be made clearly and formally in advance.

In addition to bloodless techniques, some patients prefer to bank or store their own blood, or the blood of a family member. Others decide to have their own blood collected, cleaned and recycled back into the body. This method is called autotransfusion, and uses a cell salvage machine or a cell saver. It is a safe, simple and very effective way to reduce—and in many cases, eliminate altogether—a blood transfusion.

Bridgeport Hospital is one of the only two hospitals in the state, and the only one in Fairfield County, with a formal Bloodless Medicine & Surgery Program that covers surgical and medical services. For information about physicians who provide bloodless care, please call the Bridgeport Hospital Bloodless Medicine & Surgery Program Coordinator at 203-384-3848 or 1-866-NO-BLOOD.

For more information about the Bridgeport Hospital Bloodless Medicine & Surgery Program, visit www.bridgeporthospital.com/BloodlessMedicine.

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