Thursday, July 05, 2012

Jehovah's Witnesses have  last laugh:  recover best from surgery, despite refusing blood

This confirms findings from Europe

Jehovah's Witnesses, whose faith forbids them from blood transfusions, recover from heart surgery faster and with fewer complications than those who do get blood, a study has found.

Patients who are Jehovah's Witnesses had better survival rates, shorter hospital stays, and fewer additional operations for bleeding than those who had blood transfusions during surgery, the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed.

Members of the Jehovah's Witness faith undergo extensive blood conservation before surgery, including red blood cell boosting erythropoietin drugs, iron and B-complex vitamins to guard against anaemia. The practice offered a "unique natural experiment" for scientists to study the effects of the blood management strategy and may point to ways to reduce the need for transfusions, researchers said.

"How we care for Jehovah's Witness patients with this pretty extreme blood conservation doesn't put a patient at increased risk," said one of the authors of the study, Colleen Koch, who is also a professor of anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. "Perhaps it needs to be examined more closely [by] applying some of these practices to our routine cardiac surgery patients."

The study included 322 Jehovah's Witness patients and 87,453 other patients who underwent heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic from 1983 to 2011. All Jehovah's Witness patients refused blood transfusions. In the other group, 38,467 didn't receive transfusions while 48,986 did.

The authors wanted to look at the difference between patients who receive blood transfusions during surgery and Jehovah's Witness patients, who undergo strict blood conservation practices before, during and after surgery, Professor Koch said.

While many patients do not have blood transfusions during and after heart surgery, they also do not undergo the same blood conservation practices as Jehovah's Witness patients, she said.

The study found Jehovah's Witnesses had lower occurrences of a heart attack following surgery and less need for prolonged ventilation. They also had an 86 per cent chance of survival at five years and a 34 per cent chance of survival 20 years after surgery, compared with 74 per cent at five years and 23 per cent at 20 years for non-Jehovah's Witness patients who had transfusions.

Victor Ferraris, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal, said there were various ways to conserve blood and prevent the need for a transfusion.

Instead of patients being placed on a heart-lung machine, which takes over the operations of the heart and lungs during surgery, he said doctors may want to consider operating while the heart is still beating to reduce the risk of bleeding and the need for transfusions. Patients can also be given drugs to help reduce their risk of bleeding.

"The question to ask is why don't they do that for everybody," said Dr Ferraris, a professor of surgery at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. "We've proven we can do really good blood conservation and maybe we should expand this to a broader audience and really focus on limiting bleeding and blood transfusion."


Obesity, Larger Waist Size Associated With BETTER  Outcomes in Heart Failure Patients

This is not a new finding but interesting to see it replicated

 A slim waist and normal weight are usually associated with better health outcomes, but that's not always the case with heart failure patients, according to a new UCLA study.

Researchers found that in both men and women with advanced heart failure, obesity -- as indicated by a high body mass index (BMI) -- and a higher waist circumference were factors that put them at significantly less risk for adverse outcomes.

The study findings are published in the July 1 online issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Heart failure affects 5.8 million people, including 2.5 million women. Approximately one-half to two-thirds of heart failure patients are overweight or obese.

Women and men are known to have differences in body composition and body-fat distribution, and this study is one of the first to specifically assess the impact of BMI and waist circumference on women and compare it with men.

The findings also offer further insight into an observed phenomenon in chronic heart failure known as the "obesity paradox": Obesity is a known risk factor for developing heart disease and heart failure, but once heart failure has manifested, being overweight may provide some protective benefits.

"The study provides us with more insight about how both genders of heart failure patients may be impacted by the obesity paradox," said senior author Dr. Tamara Horwich, an assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Heart failure may prove to be one of the few health conditions where extra weight may prove to be protective."

For the study, researchers analyzed data on advanced heart failure patients treated at UCLA Medical Center from 1983 to 2011. The team assessed 2,718 patients who had their BMI measured at the beginning of heart failure treatment and 469 patients who had their waist circumference measured at the beginning of treatment.

Using standardized measures, the researchers identified men or women as having a high BMI if they were greater or equal to 25 kg/m² -- this included both overweight patients (25 to 29.9 kg/m²) and obese patients (30 kg/m² or greater).

For men, a high waist circumference was considered 40 inches (102 cm) or greater, and for women, 37 inches (88 cm) or greater. This assessment also included patients who were either overweight or obese.

At the two-year follow-up, researchers used statistical analysis and found that in men, a high waist circumference and high BMI were associated with event-free survival from adverse outcomes like death, the need for a heart transplant, or the need for ventricular assist device placement.

Women with a higher BMI also had better outcomes than their normal-weight counterparts, and women with a high waist circumference also trended toward improved outcomes.

Both men and women with a normal BMI and waist circumference were at a substantially higher risk for these adverse outcomes. In fact, a normal BMI was associated with significantly worse outcomes -- a 34 percent higher risk in men and a 38 percent higher risk in women -- than a high BMI.

Normal waist circumference was also associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes in both genders, with men's risk doubling and women's risk tripling.

"We knew that obesity might provide a protective benefit for heart failure patients, but we didn't know whether this obesity paradox applied specifically to women with heart failure, as well as men -- and it does," Horwich said.

BMI measurement has been used for years as a surrogate measure of body fat. Since it measures all mass -- including lean muscle, which weighs more than fat -- the measurement may not be specific for total body fat. Waist circumference is a newer addition that may provide a more direct connection to body fat, since it measures the fat accumulated around the belly.

"The study also demonstrates how BMI and waist circumference can be used together to provide a more accurate measure of fat in the body to help determine obesity and assess risk," said the study's first author, Adrienne L. Clark, a resident in the department of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine.

According to Horwich, no one knows exactly why the obesity paradox exists for heart failure patients, but there are several possible explanations.

Being underweight is traditionally associated with a poorer prognosis in heart failure patients. Obesity may be at the other end of the spectrum, and patients may thereby benefit from increased muscle mass, as well as metabolic reserves in the form of fatty tissue. In addition, increased levels of serum lipoproteins that are associated with increased body fat may play an anti-inflammatory role, neutralizing circulating toxins and inflammation-related proteins.

Obese patients also present at an earlier stage of heart failure due to increased symptoms and functional impairment caused by excess body weight, so they may be getting help sooner, which also could improve outcomes, the researchers said.

The next steps in research will include larger studies with longer follow-up times, as well as a closer look at the physiology behind the obesity paradox.


1 comment:

Danny Haszard said...

Jehovah's Witnesses blood transfusion confusion

It is misleading to imply that there is NO RISK refusing blood transfusions which is how the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower will spin it.
It's only *elective surgery* for patients who are not in ER bleeding to death and in a modern hospital that has all the latest blood conservation gadgets.
How safe is all the thousands of pints of blood that Jehovah's Witnesses do use?

Jehovahs Witnesses take blood products now in 2012.
They take all fractions of blood.This includes hemoglobin, albumin, clotting factors, cryosupernatant and cryo-poor too, and many, many, others.
If one adds up all the blood fractions the JWs takes, it equals a whole unit of blood. Any, many of these fractions are made from thousands upon thousands of units of donated blood.
Jehovah’s Witnesses can take Bovine *cows blood* as long as it is euphemistically called synthetic Hemopure.
Jehovah's Witnesses now accept every fraction of blood except the membrane of the red blood cell. JWs now accept blood transfusions.
The fact that the JW blood issue is so unclear is downright dangerous in the emergency room.
More than 50,000 Jehovah's Witnesses dead from Watchtowers deadly arbitrary blood ban. That is 50 times more than died at Jonestown massacre,some estimates run as high as 100,000 dead
Danny Haszard