Valley Heart & Vascular Institute - Blood Conservation Program
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Blood Conservation Program

When it comes to blood transfusions during cardiac surgery, The Valley Hospital believes that less is more. The hospital’s Cardiac Surgery Program follows evidence-based blood conservation protocols that, whenever possible, limit the use of blood transfusions before, during and after cardiac surgery.

In the last eight years, the Cardiothoracic Surgery Program has decreased blood utilization by 50 percent.

Benefits of Conservation

Blood conservation is beneficial for patients, the hospital and the community at large:

Increased patient safety—While blood transfusions are generally safe, their use does carry a risk of infections, sepsis and ventilator-associated problems for cardiac patients. Limiting the number of blood transfusions means fewer patients will face potential—and unnecessary—complications.

Better patient outcomes—Research has shown an association between blood transfusions during cardiac surgery and a lower rate of survival in the five years after surgery. Those who can avoid transfusions may experience better short- and long-term outcomes, including longer survival rates.

Less use of blood bank reserves—Donor blood shortages are frequently a concern among blood banks. Conservation ensures that blood bank donations are reserved for those who need them most.

Lower costs—Studies have demonstrated conservation’s significant economic impact. Limiting blood transfusions has the potential to lower patients’ overall healthcare costs, as well as hospitals’ operating costs.

Preventive Measures Reduce the Need for Blood

Valley healthcare providers work closely with cardiac patients before surgery to help them optimize their blood counts through medications, dietary changes and/or intravenous iron. These measures can help lower patients' chances of needing a blood transfusion during their procedures.

Working Together for Healthier Patients

Valley's blood conservation initiative is a team effort, involving a wide spectrum of healthcare providers. Our team includes:
  • Cardiothoracic Surgeons
  • Cardiologists
  • Nurses and Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Intensivists
  • Pharmacists
  • Perfusionists
  • Nutritionists
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