Bloodless Heart Surgery
What is bloodless heart surgery?
When your New York Methodist cardiologist recommends surgery, it seems obvious that a blood transfusion may be a necessary part of the process. However, for the past decade or so, there has been an increasingly popular option called bloodless heart surgery or no-transfusion surgery which addresses the needs of those people with religious or other objections to accepting donor blood.
Advancements in equipment such as high-tech scalpels that clot as they cut and more efficient heart-lung bypass machines that conserve and re-circulate your own blood are examples of bloodless surgery. Redefining traditional surgical techniques like reducing the size of the incision to the chest cavity and freezing tissue before it is removed from the body helps to make bloodless surgery viable for many patients.
Most importantly, meticulous pre-operative planning by you and your doctor is essential to the success of operating in this manner. Numerous tests will be conducted to assess your general health condition and determine any possible complications well in advance of surgery. Keeping bleeding to a minimum is key to the success of this process. It will be necessary for you to stop taking any blood thinning medications while your doctor may also prescribe drugs that stimulate red blood cell production especially if you show signs of anemia.
What are the advantages of bloodless heart surgery?
The most significant advantage to bloodless surgery is a potentially more rapid recovery time and shorter hospital stay. Also, the surgical techniques utilized in this type of approach may reduce trauma to surrounding tissue and organs and lower the risk of infections.
Though in a medical emergency situation a transfusion can be a lifesaver all transfusions carry risks and bloodless surgeries may offer patients a safer solution. With blood products from an outside donor there is a remote possibility of the recipient contracting blood-borne illnesses. In addition, storing blood, even your own, over time does deteriorate its quality and it may function less efficiently in the body once reintroduced.
In essence, bloodless heart surgery has realigned the way many patients think about heart surgery.
The New York Methodist-Cornell Heart Center is dedicated to continually offering our patients the most up-to-date yet safe and efficient methods available.
For more information, call 718.780.7700.