Cardiac surgery in Jehovah’s Witnesses may be challenging during the operation and postoperative period given their refusal of blood products. The aim of this study was to document our center’s experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses undergoing major cardiac surgery and to compare surgical outcomes with a matched control group.
We retrospectively reviewed the demographic, perioperative, and in-hospital postoperative data for 31 Jehovah’s Witness patients undergoing surgery from 1991 to 2012 and compared findings with a control group of 62 patients of the same sex and age, who underwent the same type of operations in the same period. Early mortality, major in-hospital morbidity, laboratory findings, and hospital stays were compared between groups.
Demographic data were similar between groups, except that more patients in the Jehovah’s Witness group had extracardiac arteriopathy compared with controls (p = 0.04). There was no difference in predicted mortality, calculated by the Euroscore II, between groups (2.8 ± 3.3 in study group versus 2.4 ± 2.2 in control group, p = 0.469). For postoperative outcomes, there were no differences between Jehovah’s Witnesses versus controls in hospital mortality (3 % versus 2 %, p = 0.548), total drain loss (847 ± 583 mL versus 812 ± 365 mL, p = 0.721), mechanical ventilation time (1.26 ± 2.24 versus 0.89 ± 0.55 days, p = 0.218), intensive care unit stay (4.3 ± 3.9 versus 3 ± 1.4 days, p = 0.080), and hospital stay (12.9 ± 7.6 versus 10.9 ± 6.6 days, p = 0.223).
Outcomes after cardiac surgery are similar between Jehovah’s Witnesses and general population, in centers applying rigorous blood patient management protocols.