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Blood Conservation Clinic at Mississauga Hospital

Although often life-saving, blood transfusions are associated with significant risk to the patient and rising costs to the blood system and hospital. Transfusions are often given unnecessarily. Blood conservation represents the use of alternatives to transfusion.

Blood conservation measures used at Trillium and common to most ONTraC (The Ontario Transfusion Coordinators) participants is the self donation/autologous blood transfusion program and the use of medication therapies to treat anaemia. Patients are screened preoperatively (complete blood count) and offered the most appropriate blood conservation measure. This initiative allows us to maximize blood counts and therefore reduce/eliminate the need for blood transfusions postoperatively.

Blood Conservation Clinic at Credit Valley Hospital

This clinic offers Pre-operative Blood Conservation Strategies for Adults.

The Blood Conservation Coordinator is located on the 3rd Floor in the Ambulatory Care area of the Carlo Fidani Building. Adults requiring surgery who are interested in avoiding blood transfusion may make an appointment directly by calling (905) 813-1100 ext. 5540. You must be having surgery at Credit Valley, or have a family doctor affiliated with Credit Valley Hospital. Alternatively, your doctor can also make the referral for you.

Many blood transfusions associated with elective surgery can be avoided through advanced planning and preparation, if there is sufficient time before surgery. Once you know that you are having surgery in the future, it may be important to ask your doctor for a blood test to determine your hemoglobin level. Generally, the higher your iron or hemoglobin level the less chance of requiring a blood transfusion during your surgical hospital stay. Not all surgeries result in a transfusion risk, so check with your doctor or the blood conservation coordinator first to determine if your surgery might require a Blood Conservation Clinic visit.

Blood Conservation strategies may include:

  • Diet
  • Oral Iron
  • Intravenous Iron
  • Pre-donation of your own blood (autologous donation)
  • Eprex® injections

A plan can be developed according to individual needs. It is important to remember that the more time before surgery the more beneficial when it comes to blood conservation and transfusion avoidance.

Blood Conservation Clinic at Credit Valley Hospital - Contact Information:
Phone: (905) 813-1100 ext 5540
Fax: (905) 813-3848

For more information:

Patient Information on Blood Transfusion

Why might a transfusion be needed?
Blood is needed for the human body to work properly. The need for transfusion depends on the kind of condition a patient has. Most transfusions are given to treat anemia (a low blood count) or severe bleeding. The benefit of a transfusion is to improve the patient's condition. When anemia or bleeding is extremely severe, a patient may die if a transfusion is not given.

How is blood transfused?
Blood is given into a vein (usually an arm vein) using a new sterile disposable needle. The transfusion may be of red blood cells, plasma, platelets or other specialized products made from blood. A doctor will decide on the right amount and type of blood product required for treatment.

Is it safe?
Blood transfusion is a common procedure with low risk. Blood is safer than it has ever been, but is not risk-free. Some problems that may occur with transfusion are listed below:

  • Bruising or swelling might occur where the needle is put into the vein.
  • Minor and temporary reactions occur in about 1 in 100 people. These reactions include fever, chills or rash during or shortly after transfusion.
  • All blood is tested for infectious diseases, but there is still a very small risk of disease transmission. The risk of getting HIV is 1 in 7.8 million, Hepatitis B is 1 in 153,000 and Hepatitis C is 1 in 2.3 million. The risk of getting other viruses (known or unknown) is very small.
  • Other rare but serious risks include acute lung injury at 1 in 5,000, anaphylaxis is 1 in 40,000 and errors resulting in the wrong blood being transfused is 1 in 40,000.
  • These risks are small compared to the potential benefits of transfusion. For comparison the chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 10,000 and the chance of death by drowning is 1 in 100,000.

What are the alternatives to transfusion?
Alternatives include patients storing their own blood before surgery, drugs to increase the red blood cells count, and a parent or guardian donating blood for their child. Not all patients can use these alternatives and when bleeding or severe anemia is life-threatening, there is no effective substitute for blood transfusion.
If you are interested in alternatives to transfusion of adults please refer to the information available on the Blood Conservation Clinic at Credit Valley Hospital.
If you have questions or concerns regarding potential transfusion of blood, please contact your doctor.