New research shows that Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions after cardiac surgery are at no greater health risks than people who undergo the procedure.
The study, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on July 2, intended to look at patients who do not undergo blood transfusions after cardiac surgery. Because Jehovah's Witnesses believe on religious grounds that they are not supposed to ingest the blood of another, they made ideal test subjects.
The study looked at 48,986 non-Witnesses who had blood transfusions and 322 Witnesses who refused to have blood transfusions who all underwent cardiac surgery between 1983 to 2011. After matching the patients up by similar cases, researchers found both groups had similar risks for dying at the hospital. However, Witnesses had lower chances of having additional operations for bleeding, renal failure and sepsis compared with non-Witnesses who received transfusions.
"It behooves us to examine more closely some Jehovah Witness processes of care and implement them in our routine surgeries," study author Dr. Colleen Koch, a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said to HealthDay.
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