Bloodless Surgery

Dr. Pool has treated many patients whose religious convictions require that no blood transfusion be given to them. 

The largest group of people who decline blood transfusion for this reason are Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Any operation can entail a risk of bleeding but blood is particularly crucial when it comes to heart surgery.

Dr. Pool has an outstanding track record when it comes to avoidance of surgical bleeding. His meticulous approach and attention to minute details have allowed his patients to enjoy freedom from bleeding and take-backs to the OR for bleeding, at a much better rate than most surgeons across the nation. 

In addition, Dr. Pool and his team use specific techniques to minimize blood loss for patients, such as using pediatric vials for blood draws and minimizing the laboratory testing performed. 

As such, Dr. Pool and his team are often able to offer cardiac operations to Witness patients who are turned down by other surgeons. 

Dr. Pool is committed to respecting your convictions when it comes to refusal of blood transfusion. 

There are many considerations when it comes to undertaking heart surgery for a patient who declines blood transfusion. These issues can also be important when a patient is facing lung surgery. 

Important considerations include:

--- Your pre-op hemoglobin 

--- The planned operation = some complex heart surgeries simply cannot safely be done without blood transfusion

--- If you have recently been on any blood thinner or anti-platelet agent such as Aspirin or Plavix

--- Patient size = larger patients have more blood circulating

--- Other blood-related elements which you might consider accepting, if needed

There are a number of tools in the bag, as Dr. Pool likes to say, when it comes to combating bleeding in the context of heart surgery. Dr. Pool asks that you carefully consider which tools you are willing to accept and which ones you are not willing to accept. 

Whole blood and red blood cell transfusion are declined by most JW patients. It is important to confirm with Dr. Pool that you would not accept whole blood or red blood cells under any circumstance, even if it meant you would not survive.

Most cardiac operations require use of the heart and lung machine (CPB), which takes the patient's blood out of the body and puts oxygen into the blood, and then returns the blood to the body. 

Many JW patients are willing to accept CPB circuit blood, because it is the patient's own blood, and because the blood is never fully out of contact with the body. 

Another tool used in heart surgery is the CellSaver. The CellSaver suctions blood from the chest and concentrates the blood, which is then returned to the body. 

Many JW patients are willing to accept CellSaver. 

Platelets can be used to help with bleeding. Platelets are derived from blood. Many JW patients decline platelet transfusion but a few accept platelets. 

Plasma can be used to help with bleeding. Plasma is derived from blood. Many JW patients decline plasma transfusion but a few accept plasma. 

Cryoprecipitate can be used to help with bleeding. Many JW patients decline cryo transfusion but some accept cryo. 

Albumin can be used to help with bleeding. Many JW patients accept the administration of albumin.  

Factor VII can be used to help with bleeding. Factor VII can be made synthetically and not derived from blood. Many JW patients accept the administration of Factor VII.  

If you are considering a heart operation and refuse blood transfusion according to your religious convictions, Dr. Pool would be happy to discuss these considerations with you and would encourage you to discuss these matters at length with your family and your faith leaders. 

 

God bless & heal you! 

J. Mark Pool, MD

ABTS Board-certified

214-692-6135

Member of Society of Thoracic Surgeons