Blood Transfusion Practices in Cardiovascular Surgery

  • Richard K. Spence
  • Aurel C. Cernaianu
  • Anthony J. DelRossi

Abstract

Blood transfusion has made cardiovascular surgery possible. Without the ability to prime the heart lung machine or to replace losses encountered during aortic procedures, cardiovascular surgery would not exist as we know it today. As cardiovascular procedures became more prevalent, the amount of blood transfused increased. It was not uncommon in the recent past to type and cross patients for 20 or more units of blood for a major cardiovascular procedure. The widespread use of large amounts of blood was justified by the belief that transfusion was innocuous, carrying little risk beyond the rare reaction and the occasional case of hepatitis. This sense of security disappeared abruptly in the 1980’s when transfusion-related acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) surfaced. Although the incidence of post-transfusion AIDS was, and still is, very low, the fact that the disease is uniformly fatal was enough to cause cardiovascular surgeons to reassess their transfusion practices and to look for alternatives to homologous blood.

Keywords

Catheter Hepatitis Ischemia Aspirin Heparin 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard K. Spence
    • 1
  • Aurel C. Cernaianu
    • 1
  • Anthony J. DelRossi
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyCamdenUSA

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