Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in receiving transfusions or blood products. Many have come to Cleveland Clinic over the years to take advantage of its expertise in blood-sparing surgery.
“We have what we call a Jehovah’s Witness care plan,” says cardiothoracic anesthesiologist Colleen Koch, MD. “These patients are treated differently from our routine cardiac surgery patients — before, during and after surgery.”
This has given Cleveland Clinic a strong database from which to draw conclusions about its safety and efficacy. Dr. Koch co-authored a study of this data recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They found that extreme blood management does not put one at risk for additional complications. In fact, patients undergoing blood sparing surgery had fewer acute complications and shorter times in the hospital than comparable patients who received blood. “Should we be doing this for all our patients?” asks Dr. Koch.