AskDefine | Define bloodless

Dictionary Definition

bloodless adj
1 destitute of blood or apparently so; "the bloodless carcass of my Hector sold"- John Dryden [syn: exsanguine, exsanguinous]
2 free from blood or bloodshed; "bloodless surgery"; "a bloodless coup" [ant: bloody]
3 without vigor or zest or energy; "an insipid and bloodless young man"
4 devoid of human emotion or feeling; "charts of bloodless economic indicators"
5 ash-colored or anemic looking from illness or emotion; "a face turned ashen"; "the invalid's blanched cheeks"; "tried to speak with bloodless lips"; "a face livid with shock"; "lips...livid with the hue of death"- Mary W. Shelley; "lips white with terror"; "a face white with rage" [syn: ashen, blanched, livid, white]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. lacking blood; ashen, anaemic
  2. taking place without loss of blood
  3. lacking emotion, passion or vivacity

Extensive Definition

Bloodless surgery is a term that was popularized at the beginning of the 20th Century by the practice of an internationally famous orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Adolf Lorenz who was known as “the bloodless surgeon of Vienna.” This expression reflected Dr. Lorenz’s methods for treating patients with noninvasive techniques. His medical practice was a consequence of his severe allergy to carbolic acid routinely used in operating rooms of the era. His condition forced him to become a “dry surgeon”.
Contemporary usage of "bloodless surgery" refers to both invasive and noninvasive medical techniques and protocols. The term is somewhat confusing. The expression does not mean surgery that makes no use of blood or blood transfusion. Rather, it refers to surgery performed without transfusion of allogeneic blood. Champions of bloodless surgery do, however, transfuse products made from allogeneic blood and they also make use of predonated blood for autologous transfusion. The last twenty years have witnessed a surge of interest in bloodless surgery, for a variety of reasons. Jehovah's Witnesses reject blood transfusions on religious grounds; others may be concerned about bloodborne diseases, such as hepatitis and AIDS.

Principles of bloodless surgery

Several principles of bloodless surgery have been published.
Preoperative techniques such as erythropoietin (EPO) or iron administration are designed to stimulate the patient's own erythropoiesis.
In surgery, control of bleeding is achieved with the use of laser or sonic scalpels, minimally invasive surgical techniques, electrocautery, low central venous pressure anesthesia (for select cases), or suture ligation of vessels. Other methods include the use of blood substitutes, which at present do not carry oxygen but expand the volume of the blood to prevent shock. Blood substitutes which do carry oxygen, such as PolyHeme, are also under development. Many doctors view acute normovolemic hemodilution, a form of storage of a patient's own blood, as a pillar of "bloodless surgery" but the technique is not an option for patients who refuse autologous blood transfusions.
The Cell Saver is a device which recycles and cleans blood from a patient during an operation and redirects it into the patient's body, a technique called intraoperative blood salvage or cell salvage.
Postoperatively, surgeons seek to minimize further blood loss by continuing administration of medications to augment blood cell mass and minimizing the number of blood draws and the quantity of blood drawn for testing, for example by using pediatric blood tubes for adult patients. These costs are further increased as, according to Jan Hoffman (an administrator for the blood conservation program at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania), hospitals must pick up the tab for the first three units of blood infused per patient per calendar year. By contrast, hospitals may be reimbursed for drugs that boost a patient's red blood cell count, a treatment approach often used before and after surgery to reduce the need for a blood transfusion. Geisinger Medical Center began a blood conservation program in 2005 and reported a recorded savings of $273,000 in its first six months of operation.


Further information about bloodless surgery

See also

  • Knocking, a documentary on Jehovah's Witnesses that features a bloodless liver transplant
  • Autotransfusion, - the process of returning to a patient their own blood that has been lost.
bloodless in Hungarian: Vér nélküli sebészet
bloodless in Japanese: 無輸血治療
bloodless in Chinese: 無血手術
bloodless in Spanish: Tratamientos alternativos a las transfusiones de sangre
bloodless in Portuguese: Alternativas médicas ao sangue

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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