"Blood management" means medical or surgical treatment without the use of banked (stored) allogenic blood or primary blood components. Blood loss often occurs during surgery. A blood management program endeavors to minimize blood loss by utilizing special blood conservation methods.
Blood management procedures may be performed before, during, and after your surgery. They may include a combination of diet, medication and surgical techniques.
Some of the common goals are to:
Boost your red blood cell count prior to surgery and get enough nutrients. Patients may be given synthetic chemicals to stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. They also may be advised to eat a diet high in iron. Your red blood cells need iron to have good oxygen-carrying capacity. This might include eating lean red meat or taking iron supplements.
Monitor and optimize oxygen delivery during surgery. For blood management surgery to be a success, it is crucial that your blood oxygen levels be monitored continuously throughout the course of your surgery and recovery. Once device often used is called a pulse oximeter. The device clips onto a finger or toe and uses infrared light technology across the skin to provide an estimate of how much oxygen is being carried by the hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
Avoid blood loss during surgery. Nearly all types of surgery will involve some bleeding. However, there are a variety of new surgical tools that help stop or limit bleeding. These tools include scalpels that can cut tissue and seal bleeding vessels at the same time, the gamma knife; a form of radiation that can destroy tumors or abnormal blood vessels and laser surgery, which harnesses the energy from light to cut through tissues.
Collect and reuse your own blood during surgery. These so-called "cell savers" collect blood lost during surgery. The collected blood may be cleaned and then returned to the patient.
If you are considering a blood management procedure, talk to your doctor first or contact a blood management center to find out if it is a good fit for you. Also, make sure you understand risks and benefits that go along with the procedure before you make up your mind.