B12 Deficiency Anemia and Bloodless Surgery

Surgeons are very aware of the increased risks with anemic patients because the patient begins with a deficiency of life saving oxygen capacity. But generally speaking, for most surgeons the solution is simple: the surgeon cuts, the dihydrocodeine anemic patient loses blood, the patient’s hemoglobin level drops quickly to 7, the surgeon transfuses blood and the hemoglobin level rises to an acceptable level. The surgeon saved the patient from going into shock.

Returning to the question, “Can an anemic patient have surgery with out a blood transfusion?” The answer is yes. But how? As Mary Ann Rouch, Blood Conservation Program Coordinator, Presbyterian Hospital of Plano said, “Treating anemia is the best way to avoid blood transfusions.” Treating anemia before surgery is the first step. Avoiding excessive blood loss during surgery is the second step.

During surgery there are a vast number of tools in a Bloodless Surgeon’s bag that can help him reduce blood loss during surgery. These tools require a high degree of skill and personal commitment. Click here to learn more. Over 100,000 Bloodless Surgeons worldwide are equipped to perform Bloodless Surgery. Over 230 Hospitals worldwide have Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Programs.

A new era in medicine
Bloodless Surgery is for everyone, even for anemic patients. For more than five decades, a hemoglobin level of 10 was the “accepted” minimum level for transfusing blood. As a consequence many anemic patients were needlessly transfused. But back in 1999 it was said “The ‘transfusion trigger’ or minimal … hemoglobin level [10] at which adult patients require transfusions has been the subject of clinical investigation and controversy.” Transfusion Medicine Bulletin Vol. 2, No. 3 – November 1999. That idea was challenged and is now generally not accepted – ten years later the new ‘trigger’ is 7. But others are challenging this figure and in fact are challenging if blood ever needs to be given at all, even to a patient with severe anemia.

We live in an era of tremendous medical advancements. Old ideas are being replaced by new ones. What the previous generation thought was medical fact is being revealed as medical fiction. That is the view of tens of thousands of doctors and hundreds of hospitals worldwide that perform Bloodless Surgery – safe and effective, lower cost and faster recovery times, even for the anemic patient.

Treatment of anemia prior to Bloodless Surgery
Different forms of anemia need different types of treatment. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common. It is usually treatable through diet, supplements or iron infusions. Folic acid deficiency anemia is another type. Treatment may include diet, and oral or intravenous folic acid treatment. If B12 deficiency anemia is due to a lack of dietary vitamin intake then treatment may simply require B12 supplements and a diet rich in B12. Some doctors start treatment with vitamin B12 injections.

Pernicious B12 deficiency anemia may require vitamin B12 injections. If you are anemic and are planning to have Bloodless Surgery let your surgeon know weeks in advance. Treatment takes time.