Besides the OR, people can lose a lot of blood in the intensive care unit, Elizabeth Tracey reports


When you think of blood loss accidents and operating rooms may come to mind right away, but another place where people can experience significant blood loss is while they’re hospitalized. Blood may be taken often to manage someone’s care, and Steven Frank, a blood transfusion expert at Johns Hopkins, says ICUs are at the top of the list.

Frank: Where this really matters the most is in the intensive care unit. because there they’re not just drawing five tubes of blood, they’re doing that twice a day for maybe a week. We measured the amount of blood patients lose in the ICU just for lab testing, and it turns out to be about 1% of your blood volume. It really adds up, and we started using smaller phlebotomy tubes especially in the ICU, in the operating rooms, we use these very small tubes, to reduce the amount of blood that we send to the lab.  :31

Frank says such modifications help avoid the need for transfusions. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.