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Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014


Jamestown Post-Journal: Area residents to learn about bloodless medicine

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Residents of Western New York are invited to gather at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center in Dunkirk on Saturday, to learn about an innovative program at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) that offers patients in need of surgery the option of forgoing blood transfusions. “Whether due to religious convictions or concerns over the safety of blood transfusions, a growing number of people in our country are expressing an interest in bloodless medicine programs. At Allegheny General, we have established one of the nation’s most comprehensive centers to accommodate such patients,” said Perry Doebler, a coordinator of AGH’s Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery. The upcoming Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Seminar begins at 1:30 p.m. and will consist of two separate seminars. The first will educate participants about bloodless medicine techniques and benefits, providing examples of patients who have been successfully treated at the AGH program. The second seminar will be geared specifically to the Jehovah’s Witness audience, a religion that strictly prohibits the use of blood products or transfusion procedures during surgery. The AGH staff will address the variety of products and procedures available to a Jehovah’s Witness patient that are compatible with their beliefs and afford the option of bloodless surgery. Also called non-blood medical management or transfusion-free medicine and surgery, AGH’s Center for Bloodless Medicine is one of just a handful of such programs in the country. The AGH Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery treats approximately 200-300 patients per year, some traveling from as far away as Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia and Ohio. At AGH, highly complex surgical procedures, such as organ transplantation, brain, vascular, gynecological, cardiac, orthopaedic and gastrointestinal surgery, can be performed without the necessity of transfusion. According to AGH coordinator Deborah Tatro, successful bloodless medicine programs require first and foremost an experienced, uniquely dedicated medical and surgical staff. At AGH, physicians representing just about every major clinical specialty are accessible to patients requiring a bloodless option for their care. Such programs also require investment in state-of-the-art technology and knowledge of innovative procedures that make such care possible, Tatro said. Some examples of the techniques and equipment used for bloodless surgery include: ¯ Intraoperative Blood Salvage, also known as the cell saver system. This sophisticated system collects and returns the patients own blood lost during surgery. ¯ Use of erythropoietin, a synthetic hormone that stimulates the body’s ability to produce red blood cells. By treating anemia and increasing the red blood cell supply before surgery, the hemoglobin level is increased and remains higher during and after surgery. ¯ Hemodilution can be used as a temporary replacement of blood with intravenous fluids to reduce blood loss during surgery. ¯ Use of Aragon beam coagulator and electrocautery, devices that clot blood vessels during surgery to reduce blood loss. ¯ Microsampling blood draws, a technique of drawing very small amounts of blood for testing, rather than the larger draws that are typical in the hospital setting. Bloodless medicine not only reduces the risk of exposure to infectious disease, but research suggests additional tangible clinical benefits for patients, including fewer post-surgical complications and decreased length of hospital stay, Doebler said. “There are many world-renowned surgeons and physicians who believe that bloodless medicine is a preferred treatment and will be a standard of care at all hospitals in the future,” Doebler said. Those interested in contacting the AGH Center For Bloodless Medicine and Surgery may call (412) 359-8787 or 1-877-284-2000. AGH is part of the West Penn Allegheny Health System (www.wpahs.org).

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