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In case my father needs a transfusion, should I donate blood?
Ask the doctor
Image: © Cylonphoto/Getty Images
Q. My father is having open-heart surgery because of blocked arteries, and I'm concerned that he might need a blood transfusion. I have the same blood type as he does, so should I donate blood in case he needs it?
A. Transfusions related to cardiovascular surgery are far less common today than in the past. One reason is the routine use of a "cell saver." This device suctions, washes, and filters lost blood and returns it to the person during surgery. Still, there is a reasonable chance your father might need a blood transfusion during or after his surgery. Many people undergoing open-heart surgery end up needing a transfusion, though rates do vary widely depending on the length and complexity of the surgery, as well as by surgical center.
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