To review the responses of advance directives signed by Jehovah’s Witness patients prior to undergoing surgery at a gynecologic oncology service.
A retrospective chart review of gynecologic oncology patients undergoing surgery at a bloodless surgery center from 1998–2007 was conducted. Demographic, pathologic, and clinical data were recorded. The proportion of patients who accepted and refused various blood-derived products was determined and was compared to previously published results from a similar study of labor and delivery unit patients.
No gynecologic oncology patients agreed to accept transfusions of whole blood, red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma under any circumstance, whereas 9.8% of pregnant patients accepted transfusion (P=0.0385). However, 98% of gynecologic oncology patients agreed to accept some blood products, including fractions such as albumin, immunoglobulins, and clotting factors, while only 39% of pregnant patients agreed (P<0.0001). In addition, all gynecologic oncology patients (100%) accepted intraoperative hemodilution, compared to 55% of pregnant patients (P<0.0001).
Our results confirm the commonly held belief that the majority of Jehovah’s Witness patients refuse to accept major blood components. However, Jehovah’s Witness patients at a gynecologic oncology service will accept a variety of blood-derived products (minor fractions) and interventions designed to optimize outcomes when undergoing transfusion-free surgery. Patients presenting to a gynecologic oncology service respond differently to advanced directives related to bloodless surgery, as compared to patients from an obstetrical service.