Geisinger Health System established its Blood Conservation Program in 2004 in response to growing concerns about the safety of the nation's blood supply. Geisinger is the first healthcare provider in central and northeastern Pennsylvania to offer this advanced program.
The Blood Conservation Program, also known as bloodless medicine and surgery, is an advanced method of providing medical care that minimizes your blood loss before, during and after treatment, and reduces the need for blood transfusions. While some technologies to perform these procedures began years ago, Geisinger is the first healthcare system in the region to utilize these techniques in an organized approach to medical care. This approach permits doctors to care for you by reducing or eliminating the use of transfused blood or blood components because you are able to retain your own blood during treatment. This approach also speeds up your healing and recovery processes.
Geisinger's approach to blood conservation goes beyond one physician's method, a particular surgical technique or a special piece of equipment. Through the Blood Conservation Program, our doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians combine their expertise in a healthcare setting that supports this approach. We have developed specific policies and procedures that include best practices in caring for you.
When you enroll in Geisinger's Blood Conservation Program, everyone you come in contact with - from admissions staff, nurses and medical laboratory specialists to physicians-is aware of your choice to use blood conservation techniques. This integrated approach assures you of our commitment to your safe care.
Why should I choose Geisinger's Blood Conservation Program?
The advanced techniques and technology used in the Blood Conservation Program allow you to recover quicker and go home sooner. Blood conservation techniques minimize the potential for infection and can shorten your hospital and ICU stay.
When you request blood conservation techniques, you actively participate in your healthcare decisions along with your physician. You may also have strong religious reasons for seeking bloodless medical care.
How does the Blood Conservation Program work?
Geisinger's Blood Conservation Program uses proven, state-of-the-art technology and the latest scientific research to care for you while reducing or eliminating the use of blood transfusions. Some of the specialized techniques and equipment include:
- Synthetic erythropoietin -This hormone stimulates bone marrow to produce more red blood cells and may be used to boost your hemoglobin level before surgery.
- Volume expanders - The use of these intravenous fluids expands the volume of the blood. Each ounce of blood contains a lower concentration of red blood cells; therefore, the amount of red blood cells lost during surgery is reduced.
- ANH (Acute Normovolemic Hemodilution) - Traditionally, patients were asked to donate their own blood prior to surgery in case of blood loss during the procedure. Risks involved with this technique include anemia, possible mislabeling of blood, and deterioration of the blood during storage. ANH is a new technique in which one to three units of your blood are taken and replaced with volume expanders. This is done in the operating room just prior to the start of your surgery. Your blood is held at your bedside and then given back to you during or after surgery to replace any blood lost during the operation. Your blood never goes to the blood bank for storage.
- Advanced cell saver system - The Geisinger Blood Conservation Program includes the use of this extremely sophisticated system that carefully conserves and recirculates blood that might otherwise be lost during surgery.
- Platelet Gel - Platelets, spun from your own blood, are mixed with a thrombin/calcium substance to make a gel that is applied to the surgical site. The platelet gel reduces microbleeding, reduces swelling, decreases pain, stimulates tissue growth, and enhances the healing process.
- Microsampling - Very small amounts of blood are taken for testing, rather than the larger quantities routinely drawn.
- Geisinger's Blood Conservation Program techniques can be included as part of your care for just about any type of medical condition you may have. If you are considering elective surgery in the near future, feel free to contact us to determine whether your condition is treatable using blood conservation techniques.
Will my health insurance cover blood conservation techniques?
The blood conservation techniques described above are an accepted form of healthcare. To become a patient at Geisinger, our insurance verification specialists will assist you in determining if your insurance is accepted at Geisinger and in obtaining prior approval from your insurance company.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-275-6401.