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BY THE NUMBERS //

Bloodless Revolution

For reasons religious and medical, some surgery patients are forgoing transfusions.

Summer 2008
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$350
Typical cost to transfuse one unit of blood

0-2
Units of red blood cells typically used in open-heart surgery

66
Estimated percentage of blood transfusions potentially administered unnecessarily, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine

1878
Year when physician George Hayman perfected saline solution as a substitute for blood; generally considered the dawn of bloodless medicine, a movement that eschews donor (allogeneic) blood

7:26
Verse in Leviticus stating, “Ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings,” which Jehovah’s Witnesses believe prohibits them from accepting allogeneic blood

2
Decades during which bloodless medicine has changed from being primarily patient driven (for religious or personal reasons) to being championed by doctors concerned about the rising costs and overuse of blood transfusions

125
Approximate number of U.S. hospitals with bloodless surgery/blood management programs

1974
Year marking the invention of the cell-salvage machine, which is used in bloodless surgery to clean and recycle blood

23
Percentage increase in post-operative complications among heart surgery patients who received transfusions vs. those who did not

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