BACKGROUND: We established a bloodless center at Soonchunhyang University Hospital (SCH) in 1996 and have provided medical and surgical care for Jehovah's Witness patients. In this study, we evaluated their outcomes to provide the basis of bloodless medicine and surgery in Korea. METHODS: A retropective review of the medical records of 757 Jehovah's Witness patients admitted in the SCH Bloodless Center from December 1996 to July 2003 was performed. RESULTS: Among 757 patients, 19 (2.5%) expired during treatment and 4 of them died of cardiopul-monary dysfunction secondary to anemia. As alternatives to blood transfusion, 85 (11.2%) patients were treated with iron, 81 (10.7%) with erythropoietin, 49 (6.5%) with aprotinin, 31 (4.1%) with hemodilution and 28 (3.7%) with cell saver. Four hundreds fifteen (54.8%) of 757 patients underwent surgery. The most frequently involved cinical department was Obstetric/Gynecology (23.8%). The ratio of female and the percentage of cases treated with alternatives to blood transfusion were higher in surgery group than non-surgery group patients.(Chi-square test, P<0.01) CONCLUSIONS: Most Jehovah's Witness patients were treated successfully in our bloodless center with various alternatives to blood transfusion, such as erythropoietin, intraoperative autotransfusion, acute normovolemic hemodilution etc. Collaboration and good communication among surgeons, anesthesiologists, hematologists and blood bank physicians are very important to provide qualified medical or surgical treatment to the patients who have a religious objection to receiving blood or blood-related products.
Keywords Bloodless center; Jehovah's Witness; Alternatives to blood transfusion