Virginia Commonwealth Univeristy

Practicing Excellence in Transfusion Therapy


Blood transfusion

The goal of blood conservation is to conserve or retain enough of the patient’s own blood during medical treatments and procedures to reduce or eliminate the need for a blood transfusion.

Many patients require blood transfusions due to anemia, cancer treatments and surgery. During blood conservation, various techniques are used to conserve blood, control bleeding or promote the growth of new blood cells. Some of these techniques include vitamins, medications and micro-sampling, where only a minimum amount of blood is taken for testing.

Blood conservation is not only for those with deeply held religious beliefs, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, but for all individuals who wish to avoid using donated blood. The PET program provides patients and staff with educational materials and services to aid and support in the decision-making process.

The benefits to blood avoidance include faster recovery following surgery, a decreased chance of infection, a reduction in the risks of acquiring blood-borne diseases and preservation of a limited blood supply.