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21.12.2004 General News

Korle-Bu Now Performs Bloodless Surgery

The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra now performs bloodless surgery.

It is the only institution in the West African sub-region, which performs this type of surgery.

Bloodless surgery is the standard surgery in the United States of America and Europe.

Patients from Nigeria, Cameroun, and Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Liberia and Sierra Leone have benefited from the bloodless surgery performed at Korle-Bu.

So far, eight members of the Jehovah's Witnesses have benefited from bloodless surgery in open heart surgery, while more than 100 patients have benefited from it in other surgical operations.

The introduction of bloodless surgery offers great hope for Jehovah's Witnesses and persons who may prefer it to the well-known transfused surgery.

Dr Ernest Aniteye, the Consultant Anaesthetist at the National Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, who said this in an interview in Accra yesterday, said although the hospital designed it for Jehovah's Witnesses, many patients who got to know of it preferred it to transfused surgery.

He said bloodless surgery offered a safeguard against the risk of the transmission of hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and syphilis to patients as could happen in transfused surgery.

Explaining how it is done, Dr Aniteye said four weeks before surgery, the patient was put on iron supplements, while his or her protein intake was also increased.

He said the patient was also put on a drug, Erythopoitin (Epo), and anti-malarias. These, he said, were to raise the haemoglobin level by 1.2 grams every week.

According to him, one to two units of blood was taken from the patient and replaced with intravenous fluids.

The bleeding during the surgery would, therefore, be diluted blood.

Dr Aniteye, who is also a lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School, said after the surgery, the blood taken was put back.

He said another drug used was Tranexamic acid, which was used to clot the blood and, thereby, minimise bleeding during surgery.

He said the only expensive aspect of bloodless surgery related to the purchase of Erythropoitin, which is estimated at ¢800,000 per dose per week for an adult.

Dr Aniteye said the cost could be reduced if the taxes on the importation of the drug were waived.

Dr Aniteye was quick to emphasise that if one considered the medical cost involved in managing HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, bloodless surgery was not expensive.

He explained that if a patient's haemaglobin level was good, it would only cost him ¢30,000 to buy a blood bag.

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