WEDNESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) — A transfusion-free surgical program developed for Jehovah’s Witness patients reduced the use of blood products in other patients, according to a new study.
The University of Southern California (USC) developed a transfusion-free program for Jehovah’s Witnesses undergoing liver transplantation in January 2000.
For this study, published in the September issue of the Archives of Surgery, researchers from the INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., and colleagues analyzed the medical records of 272 non-Jehovah’s Witness patients who were undergoing liver transplantations at USC.
Compared with the patients who had surgery before the transfusion-free program was developed, those who had surgery after the program’s initiation were significantly less likely to receive certain types of blood transfusions.
Scores on the model of end-stage liver disease (MELD) test were significantly higher in the patients having surgery after the program was developed. The MELD score describes the survival probability in people with liver disease, with higher scores indicating sicker patients.
“The development of a transfusion-free surgical program for Jehovah’s Witness patients has had a positive impact on reducing the overall blood use in non-Jehovah’s Witness patients,” the authors noted.
According to the authors, the program decreases some of the complications of transfusions, such as transmission of unknown pathogens, and also helps to preserve blood bank resources, which reduces the overall cost of the procedure.