Is It Safer to Have Bloodless Surgery?
“Blood transfusion has often been shown to reduce cancer survival.”
-British Journal of Surgery Volume 89 June 2002
Is Bloodless Surgery safer than conventional surgery where blood is administered?
Consider the evidence and decide for yourself. Mortality rates for Bloodless Surgery are lower than those for traditional surgery where blood is transfused. Fewer strokes and heart attacks follow Bloodless Surgery. The recurrence of tumors and cancer is lower when a patient is not given blood transfusion(s). Blood transfusion increases the chances of kidney failure and stroke. At the bottom of the page are just a few quotes. Listen to what the experts have to say.
All the diseases associated with blood transfusions - HIV, hepatitis, TRALI, Lyme Disease, malaria, West Nile Virus, Mad Cow Disease and 17 others - are avoided with Bloodless Surgery. Click here to see a complete list.
Lesser known risks, from hypothermia, tachycardia, multiple organ failure, anaphylactic shock to acute immune hemolytic reaction, just to mention a few, (from a list of about 20 lesser known transfusion reactions), are also greatly minimized, or in most cases, completely avoided with Bloodless Surgery. Click here to see a complete list.
Over 550 Studies have proven Bloodless Surgery is safer than conventional surgery
Multiple studies have shown that Bloodless Surgery is indeed safer than traditional surgery where blood is transfused.
In April of 2009 a panel of experts convened at the International Consensus Conference on Transfusion and Outcomes (ICCTO) in Phoenix, Arizona. The panel reviewed 555 separate studies on blood transfusions commissioned in the last 13 years. The experts concluded that the majority of transfusions administered had no beneficial effect on the patients who received them. Totally to the contrary the panel concluded that the 555 studies proved that the “vast majority of red blood cell transfusions” have a direct link between “higher rates of complications such as heart attack, stroke, lung injury, infection and kidney failure and death.” -medicalnewstoday.com
how many more do they need
To imagine that over 550 separate studies have been commissioned and that the vast majority of them have proven that Bloodless Surgery is safe is mind-boggling. Why has the medical community ignored the evidence that has been staring them in the face?
Well, how many doctors smoke? The evidence about the dangers of tobacco is overwhelming and has been publicized for over forty years. Warnings appear on tobacco products across the world. But if you smoke, work for a tobacco company or make your living from tobacco then the evidence is easily ignored. The point of this example is this, scientific truth is often ignored for a variety of reasons, some selfish, some commercial, some ignorant. It is no different with the issue of blood safety.
The new mantra
The new mantra is this: “The blood supply is safer than ever.” This may be true. But is it safe enough? The blood supply may be safe in the sense that more viral screening is done on blood products than ever before. However the statement that “the blood supply is safer than ever” completely ignores the other risks involved with accepting blood: detrimental reactions to blood transfusion, as mentioned above. Some of them are fatal.
The statement that “the blood supply is safer than ever” also ignores the most detrimental side affect of infusing allogenic blood - Death. Post-surgical mortality is directly linked to blood's devastating assault on the immune system. It must be remembered that blood is not medicine it is an organ. A blood transfusion is an organ transplant and like any transplant the body's immune system is compromised and weakened. This immunosuppression is suspected in the three to five hundred percent greater mortality rate in patient's who receive allogenic blood as compared to those who do not. One single unit of blood can have life long consequences. These data are well documented and now coming to light. Bloodless Surgery bypasses all these risks.
A small sample of the data is highlighted in the following quotes: “An epidemiologic survey of 3,534 patients in 146 western European ICUs, confirmed increased mortality rates (ICU and hospital) in transfused patients.” The Journal of the Society of Anesthesiologists Vol. 108 January 2008. “Five-year mortality was more than twice as high in those who received perioperative blood transfusions than in those who did not.” Pulmonary Reviews. More information can be found on other pages of MyBlood.
One of many emerging threats not screened for
Many parasitic infections can be transmitted by blood transfusion. For example, Chaga’s disease is incurable and can be lethal. Donor blood is not screened for Chaga's.
“Chaga's disease is a blood disease found primarily in Latin America, but there is growing concern that the disease and the parasite that causes it may be heading north.” -KPHO.com
Chaga's isn't the only concern. What frightens experts is the emergence of something they they haven't discovered yet. How can blood be screened for an unknown enemy? How can a test be developed for something they don't even know exists? This problem is highlighted in Doctor Luban's insightful comment, “Many emerging pathogens will elude the stringent and sensitive donor testing already in place which, unfortunately, requires advanced technologies.” -Luban NL Children's Medical Center
With millions of refugees and immigrants crossing borders worldwide ‘unknown’ diseases in their bloodstreams travel with them to countries that may not be familiar with or know how to treat such diseases. Years can pass before medical authorities are apprised of the ‘new’ threat to their nation's blood supply. (Ask you doctor if he has heard of Chaga’s disease). All the problems with blood transfusion and blood byproducts are eliminated when a patient has surgery Bloodless Surgery.
An old mantra: “Blood is life”
The idea that ‘blood is life’ is part of the medical culture. In reference to the 555 studies reviewed by the ICCTO panel it was concluded that “a great majority of these studies were initiated to investigate the benefits of transfusions…” In other words, the approach to blood transfusion safety was not unbiased. The studies were commissioned to look at the benefits of transfused blood. A truly unbiased scientific approach would have been “Is blood transfusion safe, beneficial, useless or dangerous?” True science does not suppose an outcome and look only for evidence that supports the preconceived supposition. True science humbly asks questions and humbly accepts the answers, weather they fit into current theories or not. Interestingly, although “a great majority of these studies were initiated to investigate the benefits of transfusions, [they] instead either found no benefit or identified negative outcomes associated with blood transfusions. Only a small minority of clinical scenarios, were associated with suggested improved outcome.”
The current mindset in the medical community is not to accept what the data is telling us. “We are encultured to believe that giving blood saves lives, yet there is little data published to support such a conclusion.” -Bruce D. Speiss, MD Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Doctors are humans and humans resist change, no matter how educated they are. How long did it take to convince well educated scientists that the earth was not the center of the solar system?
‘Blood is life” has been taught in medical schools, publicized in expensive ad campaigns and been promoted by governments world wide. Powerful commercial interests are involved in the sale of blood products. In spite of this, the evidence is now not being ignored. Blood is not life. That is, blood transfusions are not life, but the reverse is true. The adverse outcomes to blood transfusions far outweigh any ‘benefit’.
A better mantra: “Everything in health care can be done without blood.”
The ICCTO panel observed that “only a small minority of clinical scenarios, were associated with suggested improved outcome.” However, the Bloodless Surgery and medicine community is proving that "everything in health care can be done without blood (transfusions)." -Dr. Aryeh Shander, Engle Wood Hospital
Any surgery can be performed without a blood transfusion. Click here to learn more. Study after study has connected the dots. The more blood that is transfused the more adverse outcomes occur.
How reliable was the ICCTO conference?
The ICCTO conference was not an obscure group of Bloodless Medicine advocates meeting in some obscure corner of the globe but rather a group of “leading international physicians and scientists in the fields of anesthesiology, intensive care, hematology, oncology, surgery, and patient blood management” that met in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The conference was monitored by the Food and Drug Administration, the American Red Cross, and other government health officials.
A final word
The long term adverse affects of receiving blood need to be weighed in the risk benefit ration when a patient considers the question: “Should I accept blood or refuse it?”
Is Bloodless Surgery safe? Or is it simply some movement promoted by a fringe group of doctors and patients with a hidden agenda? The unbiased evidence is there, it is easy to find. You can review the evidence presented throughout our website.
Hear what the experts have to say
“Each unit of red blood transfused incrementally increases risk for adverse outcome.” -Results of a study on 11,963 Cleveland Clinic patients who had coronary bypass transfusions
"Surgery associated red blood cell transfusion is the single largest factor associated with increased risk of post-surgical complications following coronary bypass." -Colleen Gorman Koch, M.D., M.S., from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation
“Blood transfusion has often been shown to reduce cancer survival.” -British Journal of Surgery Volume 89 June 2002
“During storage, blood products become proangiogenic stimulating both cancer cells and endothelial proliferation in vitro.” -British Journal of Surgery (Abstract) Volume 89 Issue s1 Page 19-19, June 2002
“[For] patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting transfusion [is] associated with a 70% rise in five-year mortality.” -Timothy Begany - Blood Transfusion: Risks And Alternatives - Pulmonary reviews.com Vol. 9, No 2 Feb 2004
“The impact of red blood cell transfusion on 30-day and 90-day mortality of elderly patients (80? years of age) was investigated in 8,787 consecutive hip fracture patients.  The greatest variability in transfusion practice was observed in the hemoglobin range of 8.0 – 10.0 g/dL. In this subgroup, 2,474 of 4,452 patients (56%) received a blood transfusion but had a higher 30-day mortality than patients with similar hemoglobin levels who did not receive a transfusion.” -Icu.cn website
“In a two part, multicentre international study involving 3543 patients drawn from 146 intensive care units across western Europe, patients who received packed red blood cell transfusions had a higher death rate than their similarly ill counterparts who did not receive transfusions”
-Deborah Josefson Nebraska, BMJ 2002;325:735 ( 5 October ) - JAMA 2002;288:1499-507
“Based on data from 9,218 Michigan bypass patients… those who received blood transfusions from donors were five times more likely to die within 100 days of their operation than those who did not.” -ScienceDaily.com
“The rate of in-hospital death increased by 8.5 percent each additional day the transfused blood had been on the shelf.” -New York Times, June 27, 2006
“U. S. physicians are well-trained and well-intentioned... yet most lack formal education in blood component therapy and many injure patients through unnecessary transfusions.” -Strategic Blood Management
“[Patients] who received blood stored more than a month had an almost 50 percent rate of kidney failure.” -NY Times, June 27, 2006
What is Bloodless Surgery?
What is a Bloodless Surgeon?
Is Bloodless Surgery Risky?
Are there disadvantages of Bloodless Surgery?
Is Bloodless Surgery experimental?
Are Blood Conservations the Same as Bloodless Surgery Programs?
Are all Bloodless Surgery Programs the same?
Is preoperative autologous blood donation (PABD) the answer?
When is a blood transfusion necessary?
Is it safer to have Bloodless Surgery?
photo credits: Alvimann