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Less blood needed post-surgery, says NEJM study
Date:12/15/2011

NEW YORK -- Patients need less blood after surgery than is widely thought. A new study comparing two plans for giving blood transfusions following surgery showed no ill effects from postponing transfusion until patients develop signs of anemia or their hemoglobin concentration falls below 8 g/dL.

Results of the National Heart and Lung and Blood Institutefunded study are published in today's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center is one of 47 centers participating in the FOCUS (Transfusion Trigger Trial for Functional Outcomes in Cardiovascular Patients Undergoing Surgical Hip Fracture Repair) study, led by

Dr. Jeffrey Carson, Richard C. Reynolds Professor of Medicine at the UMDNJRobert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ.

Dr. William Macaulay, a co-author and member of the FOCUS steering committee, says, "This study will help resolve the debate about how much blood patients need after surgery. More often than not, a blood transfusion isn't necessary, even for elderly and sick patients.

"The implications are enormous. Reducing the number of blood transfusions will greatly decrease blood use, potentially saving an enormous amount of money," continues Dr. Macaulay, director of the Center for Hip and Knee Replacement at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, chief of the Division of Adult Reconstructive Surgery of the Hip and Knee, and the Nas S. Eftekhar Professor of Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

In the United States, 14.6 million units of blood are transfused each year. Between 60 and 70 percent of blood transfusions are given to patients undergoing surgery and the majority of blood transfusions are given to older patients. Commonly, patients are given a transfusion if their hemoglobin level is at or below 10 g/dL, although a growing number
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Contact: Gloria Chin
glc9010@nyp.org
212-305-5587
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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