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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. Efforts should be made to decrease or completely avoid transfusions to avoid these negative reactions. METHODS: Our coronary artery bypass grafting database was reviewed retrospectively and a total of 243 patients who underwent cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) were studied in a 12-month period (January-December 2016) after the implementation of the new program, and compared with 275 patients of the previous 12-month period.All the staff involved in the care of the patients were educated about the risks and benefits of blood transfusions and the new transfusion guidelines in a 45-min training. We revised our guidelines for transfusions based on the STS. A transfusion log was created. Reduction in IV fluid volume was targeted. CPB circuitry was redesigned to achieve significantly less prime volume. Results: The proportion of patients transfused with red blood cells was 56% (n =154) in the control group and reduced by 26.8% in the study group (29.2%; 71 patients; P < .01). Blood transfusion rate (1.7 +./- 1/3.05 +./- 1 units), postoperative hemorrhage (545 +./- 50/ 775 +./- 55 mL), respiratory support duration (12.4 +./- 7/16.8 +./- 8 h) and ICU stay (2.2+./-1.1/ 3.5+./-1.2 days) were significantly better in the blood conservation group. Conclusion: These findings, in addition to risks and side effects of blood transfusion and the rising cost of safer blood products, justify blood conservation in adult cardiac operations.

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Originally published in The Heart Surgery Forum 20 (5), E195-E198. https://doi.org/10.1532/hsf.1792