Background: Despite the recent introduction of a number of technical and pharmacologic blood conservation measures, bleeding and allogeneic transfusion remain persistent problems in open heart surgical procedures. We hypothesized that a comprehensive multimodality blood conservation program applied algorithmically on the basis of bleeding and transfusion risk would provide a maximum, cost-effective, and safe reduction in postoperative bleeding and allogeneic blood transfusion.
Methods: One hundred consecutive patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting were prospectively enrolled in a risk factor-based multimodality blood conservation program (MMD group). To evaluate the relative efficacy and safety of this comprehensive approach, comparison was made with a similar group of 90 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting to whom the multimodality blood conservation program was not applied but in whom an identical set of transfusion guidelines was enforced (control group). To evaluate the cost effectiveness of the multimodality program, comparison was also made between patients in the MMD group and a consecutive series of contemporaneous, diagnostic-related group-matched patients.
Results: One hundred consecutive patients in the MMD group underwent coronary artery bypass grafting without allogeneic transfusion. This compared favorably with the control population in whom a mean of 2.2 +/- 6.7 units of allogeneic blood was transfused per patient (34 patients [38%] received transfusion). In addition, the volume of postoperative blood loss at 12 hours in the control group was almost double that of the MMD group (660 +/- 270 mL versus 370 +/- 180 mL [p < 0.001]). Total costs for the MMD group in each of the three major diagnostic-related groups were equivalent to or significantly less than those in the consecutive series of diagnostic-related group-matched patients.
Conclusions: Comprehensive risk factor-based application of multiple blood conservation measures in an optimized, integrated, and algorithmic manner can significantly decrease bleeding and need of allogeneic transfusion in coronary artery bypass grafting in a safe and cost-effective manner.