Global Blood Resources' On-Line Calculator Reveals Wasted Blood Costs by Blood Salvage Machines During Heart Surgery to be in the Billions

The Hemobag(R) prevents wastage by saving the patient's own whole blood

May 06, 2008, 01:00 ET from Global Blood Resources LLC

    SOMERS, Conn., May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent paper in a journal for
 perfusionists, the health professionals who manage patients on heart and
 lung bypass machines during open heart surgery, reports how Global Blood
 Resources' online waste calculator can be used to estimate the cost of
 blood wastage seen with the "cell washing" machines most commonly used
 during heart surgery to salvage the patient's own blood for
 autotransfusion. Such wastage usually requires transfusion of increasingly
 costly blood components donated by others (allogeneic blood), the very type
 of riskier transfusion that blood salvage machines were designed to
 prevent. The GBR calculator exposes how this previously unknown wastage can
 cost billions of dollars each year, money that could be saved by using
 Global Blood Resources' salvage device, the Hemobag(R).
     Although the tainted blood scandals of the 1980s and 1990s are largely
 over thanks to improved blood donor screening tests for diseases such as
 AIDS and hepatitis C, discouraging news still abounds. News reports
 commonly feature severe blood shortages and research that documents newly
 recognized transfusion risks such as how older stored blood may put heart
 surgery patients at increased risk. In response, the medical community has
 moved to manage blood usage by minimizing transfusion of donated blood and
 instead saving and transfusing the patient's own blood that would otherwise
 be lost during surgery and is by far the best choice. Cardiovascular heart
 disease is still the leading cause of death in America. To help correct
 this each day approximately a thousand people in the U.S. alone have heart
 surgery, with over 325,000 cases annually and growing 5% each year. Blood
 salvage has been used extensively in cardiac surgery, which historically
 has been a major user of the nation's blood supply, consuming between
 15-20% of the blood transfused in the United States. Over 50% of patients
 having heart surgery receive at least one transfusion from a volunteer
 blood donor.
     The paper "On-Line Autotransfusion Waste Calculator" published in the
 Journal of The American Society of Extra-Corporeal Technology describes how
 GBR's calculator uses a spreadsheet to estimate the cost of wastage seen
 with the traditional machines that salvage only red blood cells. These
 salvage machines wash away all other blood elements such as platelets,
 required for blood to clot, and plasma, the fluid portion of blood that
 contains clotting factors and important proteins necessary for patient
 stability. With insufficient platelets and clotting factors, patients bleed
 and require transfusion with red cells and other expensive, scarce blood
 components. In contrast, the Hemobag(R) uses whole blood ultrafiltration, a
 process that conserves whole blood containing red blood cells and all of
 the other constituents that are washed away by "cell washer" blood
 salvaging machines.
     "The old standard of washing away viable platelets and plasma proteins
 must be re-evaluated, as wasting these blood constituents is not sound
 blood management in cardiac and other major surgeries," said Keith Samolyk,
 a perfusionist and founder of Global Blood Resources. "Conserving all
 elements of the patient's own blood during surgery is critical," reports
 William Shely, M.D., a cardiac surgeon from Salem Hospital in Salem, OR.
 "Our patients get fewer blood products by reinfusing the patient's own
 concentrated whole blood with the Hemobag(R), and they are much more stable
 especially in the early postoperative period when traditionally most donor
 blood products are given."
     Physicians can use the calculator to estimate the cost of wastage using
 known averages specific to their equipment and blood product costs, which
 vary greatly across the USA. Even if the exact values of some parameters to
 be entered in the calculator are unknown, it can easily simulate the final
 cost consequences of small changes in any one parameter. The waste
 calculator dramatically shows that compared to devices that salvage only
 red cells, the Hemobag(R) conserves the equivalent of thousands of dollars
 worth of allogeneic blood products per patient and could save billions of
 dollars annually in the USA alone.
     About Global Blood Resources
     Global Blood Resources LLC ( is a health
 care company founded by a perfusionist in response to ongoing concerns
 about the safety of the blood supply. The Hemobag(R) allows the salvage,
 concentration and re-infusion of the patient's own whole blood containing
 platelets, clotting factors, important plasma proteins, as well as red
 blood cells, thereby helping to stabilize heart surgery patients and
 prevent bleeding.

SOURCE Global Blood Resources LLC