Outcomes in cardiac surgery in 500 consecutive Jehovah's Witness patients: 21 year Experience
CHP PARLY 2, 21 Rue Moxouris, Le Chesnay, 78150, France
Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 2012, 7:95 doi:10.1186/1749-8090-7-95Published: 27 September 2012
Refusal of heterogenic blood products can be for religious reasons as in Jehovah's Witnesses or otherwise or as requested by an increasing number of patients. Furthermore blood reserves are under continuous demand with increasing costs. Therefore, transfusion avoidance strategies are desirable. We describe a historic comparison and current results of blood saving protocols in Jehovah's Witnesses patients.
Data on 250 Jehovah's Witness patients operated upon between 1991 and 2003 (group A) were reviewed and compared with a second population of 250 patients treated from 2003 to 2012 (group B).
In group A, mean age was 51 years of age compared to 68 years in group B. An iterative procedure was performed in 13% of patients in group B. Thirty days mortality was 3% in group A and 1% in group B despite greater operative risk factors, with more redo, and lower ejection fraction in group B. Several factors contributed to the low morbidity-mortality in group B, namely: preoperative erythropoietin to attain a minimal hemoglobin value of 14 g/dl, warm blood cardioplegia, the implementation of the Cornell University protocol and fast track extubation.
Cardiac surgery without transfusion in high-risk patients such as Jehovah Witnesses can be carried out with results equivalent to those of low risk patients. Recent advances in surgical techniques and blood conservation protocols are main contributing factors.