Techniques First Used for Jehovahs Witnesses Now Being Used to Help Other Patients

March 31, 2014
Techniques First Used for Jehovahs Witnesses Now Being Used to Help Other Patients Charles Peterson came to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank suffering from chest pains. “The doctor said he didn't want to scare me - but I was in the middle of a heart attack,” Charles recalls. Doctors soon discovered he had five arteries almost totally blocked. There was only one solution to restore blood flow to his heart - coronary artery bypass surgery. But Charles is a devout Jehovah's Witness and the tenets of his faith do not allow him to accept any blood transfusions, which are often needed during heart surgery. To minimize the risk of blood loss, Dr. Ali Gheissari performed what is known as off-pump bypass surgery. During conventional heart bypass surgery, a heart/lung machine (the pump) keeps the patient alive while the heart is stopped, but patients usually bleed more during surgery when the heart/lung pump is used. Instead, Dr. Gheissari performed five bypasses while Mr. Peterson's heart kept beating. “Only about 20 percent of surgeons in the U.S. perform surgery this way. We have the technology and the capability to do cases like Mr. Peterson's because we do off-pump surgery and high risk heart surgery routinely.” Dr. Gheissari explains. “Bloodless surgery is another significant step in the evolution of cardiac surgery,” explains Dr. Gheissari. “When we can use advanced medical techniques to satisfy diverse patient needs and preferences, we're providing medical care of the highest quality.”