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

June 13, 2022


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.

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