Penn Heart and Vascular

Overview of the Bloodless Cardiac Surgery Program

Leading the Way in Transfusion-Free Heart Surgery

Penn Medicine's Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery is a leading blood management program offering unique medical and surgical alternatives to patients unwilling to accept blood transfusions or blood products.

Bloodless (also known as "transfusion-free" or "no blood") surgery is surgery performed without the use of stored or donated blood products. It involves special pre-operative and post-operative care as well as the use of special techniques during surgery to minimize blood loss.

Some patients opt for transfusion-free treatment for religious reasons (i.e., Jehovah's Witnesses); others want to minimize the risk of adverse reactions. Penn offers transfusion-free alternatives to any patient who is interested and qualifies as a good candidate.

Benefits of bloodless cardiac surgery may include:

  • Fewer complications related to transfusions
  • Faster recovery time
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less chance of infection
  • Faster healing time for wounds

Bloodless Surgery Expertise Gained by Experience

Penn has a long history of pioneering new surgical techniques. Heart surgery – often associated with considerable blood loss – is a case in point. At its beginning, the Bloodless Cardiac Surgery Program was one of only a handful in the nation to offer a full array of cardiac procedures.

The complexities of performing bloodless cardiac surgery — from preparation through recovery — require the talents of a very experienced multispecialty team. Specialists in the bloodless cardiac surgery program team are renowned experts in their respective fields and include:

  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Hematologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Perfusionists

Penn cardiovascular surgeons have mastered the exact level of skill and precision necessary to perform bloodless procedures. They have successfully performed the most complex and intricate surgeries using bloodless strategies, and in fact, have helped design some of these processes and techniques.

Every team member involved in patient care follows meticulous blood conservation protocols throughout a patient’s stay and works to create a sensitive and supportive environment.

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