Blood Conservation


Blood Conservation

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Blood Conservation

Serving Those Who Wish to Avoid Using Donated Blood During Medical and Surgical Procedures

OhioHealth is proud to offer the only blood conservation program in central Ohio. Our blood conservation program is centrally located in downtown Columbus at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, with free, convenient parking for all patients and visitors. 

What is blood conservation?

Every year, millions of people are seen in hospital operating rooms for surgical procedures. At times, these surgeries are complicated and can result in considerable blood loss.

Sometimes surgeries can be complex and can result in considerable blood loss.

Some patients do not wish to receive blood transfusions or other blood products from outside donors. These patients opt to receive a form of treatment known as blood conservation or bloodless medicine.

The goals of blood conservation are to use blood or blood products appropriately and find ways to reduce or avoid the need for a blood transfusion.

Only a handful of select hospital systems in the U.S. offer bloodless medicine and surgery, including OhioHealth Grant Medical Center.

Why choose blood conservation?

There are many reasons you may prefer a transfusion-free treatment, such as:

  • Religious conviction
  • Personal comfort
  • Further reduce the low risk of blood-borne illnesses, such as HIV and hepatitis
  • Decreased exposure to emerging viruses and infections
  • Help speeding up recovery time
  • Reduced risk of transfusion reactions
  • Reduced post-operative infections
  • Preserved blood supply for patients who require blood transfusions

How does blood conservation work?

A combination of methods are used to minimize blood loss and increase blood production before and during surgery, including diet, medications and surgical techniques.

Before surgery

Should you decide to use blood conservation methods for your surgery, gathering your health history and receiving appropriate treatment before your procedure or surgery could help eliminate your risk of needing a blood transfusion.

Before the procedure, you will typically be examined for existing health conditions and your nutritional status. If any areas are identified that would place you at risk for blood loss, these will be discussed with you before your procedure.

During surgery

The following are some of the tools we use to minimize blood loss during surgery:

  • Intraoperative blood salvaging – We collect your blood lost during surgery, then wash, filter and re-infuse your red blood cells.
  • Hemodilution – We remove a specific amount of blood during surgery, replace it with intravenous (IV) fluids, and return it after surgery.
  • Meticulous surgical techniques – We use special surgical instruments to help prevent or minimize blood loss.
  • Minimally invasive surgery – We perform surgery through small incisions (for example, laparoscopic surgery), which results in less blood loss.
  • Electrocautery – We use electric current to cut tissue, which reduces or stops bleeding.
  • Platelet gel – This substance is made from the patient’s own blood and mixed with thrombin or recothrom (substances that help blood to clot). It’s used to control bleeding and aid in wound healing.
  • Fibrin glue – This is a mixture of bovine (cow) thrombin and fibrinogen (substances that help blood to clot) that is used to seal surgical wounds.
  • Volume expanders – These are intravenous fluids made with water, salts, sugars or starches that help maintain the correct amount of fluid in the blood vessels.
  • Medications that cause the vessels to narrow – We use these to slow down blood flow until cauterization can occur or until bleeding stops. Some examples are estrogen, progesterone, aminocaproic acid and vasopressin.
  • Platelet-rich plasma – These are tissue adhesives (glues) made with a patient’s own blood. For orthopedic procedures, these adhesives can be mixed with bone or coral.
  • Temperature – Keeping your body temperature lower during surgery can decrease the amount of blood lost.
After surgery

The following are some of the tools we use to minimize blood loss during surgery:

  • Minimal blood draws
  • Nutritional support to increase blood supply and help you heal
  • Erythropoietin (EPO) and iron therapy to increase red blood cell production
  • Aranesp to increase red blood cell production
  • Hyperbaric oxygen – A machine that gives higher than normal concentrations of oxygen to a patient who has lost a lot of blood. This helps speed recovery.