In this medical video learn how more surgeries are going bloodless.
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Jennifer Matthews: This donated blood is sitting out the next surgery, a major operation that would usually need it. But Dale Reisner has decided not to use donor blood during her open heart surgery. Dale Reisner: It's a precious resource, it's a limited commodity. Jennifer Matthews: As a surgeon herself, Reisner knows how limited the blood supply can be. Dale Reisner: It's really used best for trauma and acute surgical emergencies. Jennifer Matthews: Bloodless surgery used to mostly be requested by Jehovah's Witnesses. Now, more than 25 percent of patients asking for no donor blood do so for non-religious reasons. Studies show transfusions lead to more infections and complications. Lori Heller: We're using blood transfusions too commonly and too regularly and using it for patients who don't need it. Jennifer Matthews: For weeks, Reisner had hormone injections to boost her blood count. Now, doctors will transfuse her with her own blood during the surgery, if she needs it. Other ways to avoid transfusions: During the surgery, a cell salvage machine collects blood, spins it, washes it, filters it and returns the patient's own red blood cells. Lori Heller: It prevents many transfusions and the patient having to receive banked blood. Jennifer Matthews: New blood testing techniques only need a drop, rather than a whole tube of the patient's blood. And all of these techniques mean safer surgeries and saves a precious resource for emergencies. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.