Frequency of blood tests in heart surgery could lead to anemia

20 March 2015

A leading cause of blood transfusions during heart surgery is that the patient becomes anemic, but a new finding could help limit this.anemic, but a new finding could help limit this.

Testing of patients who are undergoing cardiac surgery can lead to excessive bloodletting, which can increase the risk of developing hospital-acquired anemia and the need for blood transfusion. This is according to a new study published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery journal.

Dr Colleen Koch, from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and lead author of the study, examined data from 1,894 patients who underwent cardiac surgery from January to June 2012.

Along with her team, she recorded the number and type of blood tests performed from admission to discharge and counted the overall amount of blood taken. Of the 221,498 performed, each patient had  454 mL of blood taken, on average.

The research found that, on average, patients had 116 lab tests while in the hospital and encouraged people to ask their doctors whether or not a specific test is necessary.
"We were astonished by the amount of blood taken from our patients for laboratory testing. Total phlebotomy volumes approached one to two units of red blood cells, which is roughly equivalent to one to two cans of soda" said Dr Koch.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

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