People with anemia have a below-normal level of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body’s organs. The condition may be caused by an iron or vitamin deficiency, sickle cell anemia, or chronic or bone marrow disease. Anemia caused by iron deficiency is the most common form of the condition. It affects approximately in 20 percent of women, 3 percent of men, and half of pregnant women. Iron deficiency anemia may result from heavy periods, pregnancy, ulcers, colon polyps or cancer, a diet low in iron, or inherited disorders. More than one-third to one-half of patients scheduled for surgery have anemia, which could cause complications during recovery.

Anemia: What My Red Blood Cell Count Tells Me

Anemic patients are more likely to need blood transfusions, have longer hospital stays, run a higher risk of infection and may need to use a ventilator longer for breathing assistance than those without the condition. Anemia after certain surgeries also has been linked to higher death rates, as well as pneumonia, severe chest pain and heart attack.

Anemia: What to Do When You Have It

Bloodless surgery and blood management involves using the latest drugs, technology and techniques to decrease blood loss and reduce the need for transfusions during surgery. Blood management methods can be performed on a wide range of conditions, including open heart surgery, hip and knee replacements, hysterectomies and some trauma injuries.

"Bloodless" means medical or surgical treatment without the use of banked (stored) allogenic blood or primary blood components.  Blood loss often occurs during surgery.  A bloodless program endeavors to minimize blood loss by utilizing special blood conservation methods.