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March 1992

Pancreaticoduodenectomy Without Homologous Blood Transfusion in an Anemic Jehovah's Witness

Arch Surg. 1992;127(3):349-351. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1992.01420030127024

• Whipple pancreaticoduodenectomy is an accepted procedure for management of periampullary and pancreatic carcinomas and has modern mortality rates of less than 10%. The procedure is associated with significant operative blood loss. Therefore, blood transfusion is an important supportive measure. We report the case of a bleeding ampullary carcinoma in a Jehovah's Witness who refused transfusion of all homologous blood products. Despite a preoperative hemoglobin level of 51 g/L, curative pancreaticoduodenectomy was successfully performed. The success of the procedure can be primarily attributed to careful surgical technique, intraoperative autotransfusion, avoidance of postoperative complications, minimization of perioperative phlebotomies, use of human recombinant erythropoietin, and, possibly, the use of the perfluorocarbon emulsion Fluosol DA-20%. The case illustrates several important principles for the surgical treatment of patients with severe anemia who refuse transfusion of homologous blood products.

(Arch Surg. 1992;127:349-351)