Is Bloodless Surgery Experimental?

The technology is now so advanced that one might have to ask if Cooley’s first Bloodless Operation was Bloodless by today’s standards. In the decades that have passed so many new tools have been developed and borrowed from other specialties codydramol that the Bloodless Operations of yesteryear would look quite different than those from today.

However, that operation by Cooley shared the one main objective of modern Bloodless Surgery: Avoid allogeneic blood products – blood from an unknown donor.

In the beginning Bloodless Surgery grew slowly but steadily. With the onslaught of AIDS and other blood born diseases its popularity has mushroomed in the last two decades. Bloodless Surgery is now considered by many to have gone “mainstream”.

As little as ten years ago 90% of all Bloodless Surgeries were performed on people who refused blood transfusions on the basis of religious conscience. Now the figure has dropped to 70%. This figure shows the wide acceptance of Bloodless Surgery in the last decade. Patients want to avoid the risks of blood products but they want a high standard of medical care.

All surgeries were once bloodless surgeries
Prior to the onslaught of World War I all surgeries were performed without blood transfusions, but these can not be called Bloodless Surgeries since they did not involve all the special techniques used in modern Bloodless Surgery. They were ‘bloodless’ simply because there was no blood to be transfused. But people were regularly operated on without the use of blood products. At the time ‘bloodless surgery’ was the standard and no one thought anything unusual or odd about it.

Then blood transfusions were introduced and spectacularized by World War II and images of soldiers experiencing miraculous emergency recoveries right on the battlefield through the use of blood transfusions – images of rifles with their barrels stuck in the ground with a bag of blood hanging from the stock popularized blood transfusion forever in the minds of the Western world.

That was over sixty years ago and times have changed. Now many international authorities are re-examining the issue of blood transfusion. As a result Bloodless Surgery has become popular and not considered as an oddity.

Bloodless Surgery Hospitals
In 1996 there about 20 Bloodless Surgery Programs in the United States, this figure rose to over 70 in 2002 and now there are over 160 Bloodless Surgery Centers nationwide. Bloodless Medicine is one of the fastest growing specialties in medicine.

Since 1994, one hospital alone, The New Jersey Institute for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey, USA, “has provided medical care to over 20,000 patients. A medical staff of over 200 physicians from every discipline has been specially trained and practice bloodless medicine and surgical techniques.”

At least three hospitals in the United States treat all patients as Bloodless Patients, that is, they recommend, offer and promote Bloodless Surgery for all their patients.

It is said that every year in the United States from 20,000 to 30,000 Bloodless Surgeries are performed annually.

An example – the Cell Saver® from Haemonetics
“For more than 35 years, Haemonetics has been a global leader in blood processing technology. We have historically marketed automated blood and plasma collection systems and surgical blood salvage systems.

“Haemonetics invented surgical blood salvage nearly thirty years ago and has been an innovator in the field ever since. The Cell Saver® autologous blood recovery systems are used in operating room procedures in which there is rapid bleeding or high-volume blood loss.

“Our portfolio of devices and consumables, information management platforms, and consulting services delivers a suite of blood management business solutions for our customers.” -Haemonetics

The cell Saver is not experimental but is internationally recognized as a life saving machine in the field of Blood Management.

Not experimental
Terms like electrocautery, recombinant erythropoietin, surgical lasers, argon beam coagulators, hyperoxic ventilation, cryosurgery, hypotensive anesthesia, hemodilution sound like something from the pages of science fiction – they are not. All these and many more procedures are approved by the various states and countries in which they are employed. Many have been in use for decades. Certainly new products are being developed to enhance the efficiency of Bloodless Surgery – but new does not mean experimental.

Patient confidence
Patients seeking good medical care can have confidence in the efficacy and safety of Bloodless Surgery. It has a long past and longer future. It is here to stay.