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Invited Commentary |

Severe Blood Conservation:  Comment on “Outcome of Patients Who Refuse Transfusion After Cardiac Surgery”

Victor A. Ferraris, MD, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(15):1160-1161. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2458.
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The article by Pattakos and coauthors1 analyzes outcomes in Jehovah's Witness patients (Witnesses) who do not receive blood transfusion during cardiac operations. They use careful matching statistics to compare Witnesses with a matched group of non-Witnesses who received transfusion. They conclude that no long-term harm accrues to Witnesses as a result of extreme blood conservation interventions.

Witnesses believe that the Bible prohibits ingesting blood and that Christians should therefore not accept blood transfusions or donate or store their own blood for transfusion.2 Members of the religion who voluntarily accept a transfusion are regarded as having disassociated themselves from the religion by abandoning its doctrines and are subsequently shunned by members of the organization.

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