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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Safety of cardiac surgery without blood transfusion: a retrospective study in Jehovah's Witness patients

S R El Azab, R Vrakking, G Verhage, P M J Rosseel
Anaesthesia 2010, 65 (4): 348-52
20402872
The aim of this retrospective study was to compare the utilisation of blood products and outcomes following cardiac surgery for 123 Jehovah's Witnesses and 4219 non-Jehovah's Witness patient controls. The study took place over a 7-year period at the Amphia Hospital in Breda, the Netherlands. A specific protocol was used in the management of Jehovah's Witness patients, while the control group received blood without restriction according to their needs. Patients' characteristics were comparable in both groups. Pre-operatively, the mean (SD) Euro Score was higher in the Jehovah's Witness group (3.2 (2.6) vs 2.7 (2.5), respectively; p < 0.02). Pre-operative haemoglobin concentration was higher in the Jehovah's Witness group (8.9 (0.7) vs 8.6 (0.9) g.dl(-1), respectively; p < 0.001). The total cardiopulmonary bypass time did not differ between groups. The requirement for allogenic blood transfusion was 0% in the Jehovah's Witness group compared to 65% in the control group. Postoperatively, there was a lower incidence of Q-wave myocardial infarction (2 (1.8%) vs 323 (7.7%), respectively; p < 0.02), and non Q-wave infarction (11 (9.8%) vs 559 (13.2%), respectively; p < 0.02) in the Jehovah's Witness group compared with controls. Mean (SD) length of stay in the intensive care unit (2.3 (3.2) vs 2.6 (4.2) days; p = 0.26), re-admission rate to the intensive care unit (5 (4.5%) vs 114 (2.7%); p = 0.163), and mortality (3 (2.7%) vs 65 (1.5%); p = 0.59), did not differ between the Jehovah's Witness and control groups, respectively.

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