Heart surgery commonly results in some blood loss during the procedures. Although we take many precautions to limit this blood loss, you may become anemic and require a blood transfusion. A blood transfusion is blood that someone else has donated, and is given to you in your veins.
When your doctor discusses the risks of heart surgery with you, you will be asked if you are willing to accept blood transfusions. Blood transfusions are only used when your doctor feels that your blood counts are too low, and that you would benefit from a transfusion. Some people, because of religious beliefs, do not wish to accept another person’s blood.
Several surgeons at UT Medicine are willing to perform bloodless heart surgery. Your doctor will discuss the specific requirements for this type of surgery with you and your family. Commonly, your blood counts will need to be normal prior to surgery. Medications can be used to raise your blood counts if you are anemic. Also, your doctor will use intra-operative blood salvage and autologous donation to reduce the need for a transfusion. These procedures are in accordance with the wishes and beliefs of most Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Surgeons who perform bloodless heart surgery: