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Format: 04/25/2014
Format: 04/25/2014

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Erie Area Residents Learn About Option of Bloodless Surgery

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Allegheny General Hospital invites residents from northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio to a free seminar on Saturday, May 21 to learn about an innovative program at that offers patients the option of high-quality medical and surgical care, without the use of blood transfusion.

The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie. Members of the AGH staff will address the risks and benefits of various products and procedures that are now available to patients who request care without the use of blood, as well as provide an overview of the services available through the AGH Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery.

“Whether due to religious convictions or concerns over the safety of blood, a growing number of people 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 Rita Schwab, director of AGH’s Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery.

Also called non-blood medical management or transfusion-free medicine and surgery, AGH’s Center for Bloodless Medicine, established in 1998, is one of just a handful of comprehensive programs in the country.

The AGH Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery treats approximately 400 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.

Successful bloodless medicine programs require first and foremost an experienced, uniquely dedicated medical and surgical staff. At AGH, physicians representing nearly every major clinical specialty are accessible to patients requiring a bloodless option for their care. Such programs also make use of the latest medical innovations and state-of-the-art technology.

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.

• Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, the administration of 100-percent oxygen concentrations at higher-than-usual atmospheric pressure.

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, Schwab said.

“There are many world-renowned surgeons and physicians who believe that bloodless medicine is a preferred treatment. Bloodless medicine and blood conservation techniques are becoming the accepted standard of care in many hospitals,” she said.

The program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required as seating is limited. For more information, call the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at (412) 359-8787, or toll free at 1-877-284-2100.

Editors Note: Members of the media are welcome to attend the program.

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