How can you reduce your need for blood transfusion during surgery? Elizabeth Tracey reports


If you’re scheduled for surgery, you can take steps to reduce your possible need for a blood transfusion in this time of critically short supplies of blood. Steven Frank, a blood transfusion expert at Johns Hopkins, says that might start with stopping some nutritional supplements you’re taking.

Frank: Certain nutritional supplements can actually increase bleeding during surgery. There’s not a whole lot of good data on this but there’s a list of five or ten supplements that can increase bleeding. Fish oil is supposedly one of them that a lot of people take. Garlic supplements, flax seed oil. I think these effects are minimal but if you’re having delicate surgery where bleeding is important they’re going to tell you to stop taking those nutritional supplements at least a week before surgery.  :31

Frank notes that people often fail to mention the supplements they’re taking to their providers but recommends adding them to your medication list. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.