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Global Blood Resources' On-Line Calculator Reveals Wasted Blood Costs by Blood Salvage Machines During Heart Surgery to be in the Billions

The Hemobag(R) prevents wastage by saving the patient's own whole blood

SOMERS, Conn., May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent paper in a journal for perfusionists, the health professionals who manage patients on heart and lung bypass machines during open heart surgery, reports how Global Blood Resources' online waste calculator can be used to estimate the cost of blood wastage seen with the "cell washing" machines most commonly used during heart surgery to salvage the patient's own blood for autotransfusion. Such wastage usually requires transfusion of increasingly costly blood components donated by others (allogeneic blood), the very type of riskier transfusion that blood salvage machines were designed to prevent. The GBR calculator exposes how this previously unknown wastage can cost billions of dollars each year, money that could be saved by using Global Blood Resources' salvage device, the Hemobag(R).

Although the tainted blood scandals of the 1980s and 1990s are largely over thanks to improved blood donor screening tests for diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis C, discouraging news still abounds. News reports commonly feature severe blood shortages and research that documents newly recognized transfusion risks such as how older stored blood may put heart surgery patients at increased risk. In response, the medical community has moved to manage blood usage by minimizing transfusion of donated blood and instead saving and transfusing the patient's own blood that would otherwise be lost during surgery and is by far the best choice. Cardiovascular heart disease is still the leading cause of death in America. To help correct this each day approximately a thousand people in the U.S. alone have heart surgery, with over 325,000 cases annually and growing 5% each year. Blood salvage has been used extensively in cardiac surgery, which historically has been a major user of the nation's blood supply, consuming between 15-20% of the blood transfused in the United States. Over 50% of patients having heart surgery receive at least one transfusion from a volunteer blood donor.

The paper "On-Line Autotransfusion Waste Calculator" published in the Journal of The American Society of Extra-Corporeal Technology describes how GBR's calculator uses a spreadsheet to estimate the cost of wastage seen with the traditional machines that salvage only red blood cells. These salvage machines wash away all other blood elements such as platelets, required for blood to clot, and plasma, the fluid portion of blood that contains clotting factors and important proteins necessary for patient stability. With insufficient platelets and clotting factors, patients bleed and require transfusion with red cells and other expensive, scarce blood components. In contrast, the Hemobag(R) uses whole blood ultrafiltration, a process that conserves whole blood containing red blood cells and all of the other constituents that are washed away by "cell washer" blood salvaging machines.

"The old standard of washing away viable platelets and plasma proteins must be re-evaluated, as wasting these blood constituents is not sound blood management in cardiac and other major surgeries," said Keith Samolyk, a perfusionist and founder of Global Blood Resources. "Conserving all elements of the patient's own blood during surgery is critical," reports William Shely, M.D., a cardiac surgeon from Salem Hospital in Salem, OR. "Our patients get fewer blood products by reinfusing the patient's own concentrated whole blood with the Hemobag(R), and they are much more stable especially in the early postoperative period when traditionally most donor blood products are given."

Physicians can use the calculator to estimate the cost of wastage using known averages specific to their equipment and blood product costs, which vary greatly across the USA. Even if the exact values of some parameters to be entered in the calculator are unknown, it can easily simulate the final cost consequences of small changes in any one parameter. The waste calculator dramatically shows that compared to devices that salvage only red cells, the Hemobag(R) conserves the equivalent of thousands of dollars worth of allogeneic blood products per patient and could save billions of dollars annually in the USA alone.

About Global Blood Resources

Global Blood Resources LLC ( is a health care company founded by a perfusionist in response to ongoing concerns about the safety of the blood supply. The Hemobag(R) allows the salvage, concentration and re-infusion of the patient's own whole blood containing platelets, clotting factors, important plasma proteins, as well as red blood cells, thereby helping to stabilize heart surgery patients and prevent bleeding.

SOURCE Global Blood Resources LLC
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