Oil painting of a surgery (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Wellcome Library, London) - Credit: Oil painting of a surgery (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Wellcome Library, London)
Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 09:30
Specialists cooperation reduces blood transfusions in heart surgery
Proper cooperation between specialists during cardiac surgery leads to a significant reduction in the necessary blood transfusions. Blood transfusions and blood loss increase the risk of complications in patients and could be detrimental to their rehabilitation. This was proven in a project done by the VU University Medical Center over the past four years, NU reports. By making a few changes to improve cooperation between the specialists, the number of blood transfusions during and after cardiac surgery was reduced by 75 percent. "Such a surgery is a game between different parties", according to Christa Boer, research professor of anesthesiology. "At VUmc we all sat down together to discuss what could be improved. It's all apparently in the nuances, sometimes small steps are the most important." Specialists involved in heart surgery are a surgeon, an anesthesiologist an a perfusionist - a medical professional who makes sure that blood circulation continues in the rest of the body. Changes made includes checking a patient's sensitivity to blood clotting medication in advance so that the dosage can be adapted by person. Another change is that the patient's blood is collected, cleaned and then returned to the patient. The specialists also spend more time during the procedure on cauterizing blood vessels, which greatly reduces bleeding.