December 3, 1973

Need for Blood in Open-Heart Surgery

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1973;226(10):1230-1231. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230100052025

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To the Editor.—  Dr. James K. Roche and Dr. James M. Stengle, in "Open-Heart Surgery and the Demand for Blood" (225:1516,1973), stated that an average of nearly eight units of blood were used per case in 1971.Because of the increasing demand for blood for open-heart surgery and the possibility of hepatitis, with its morbidity and mortality, we have avoided blood transfusions as much as possible. For our open-heart procedures, consisting of coronary artery surgery, valvular repair, or replacement or correction of congenital heart lesions, 68% of our patients operated upon during the past two years have had no blood transfusions. This has been true both during the procedure and in the postoperative period. For the 32% that have received blood, only 4.3 units were used in the average case.This is a major step in decreasing the possibility of hepatitis in openheart surgery, and also lowering the need for