Blood transfusion is the most common invasive procedure performed in the United States. Studies have shown that augmenting the necessary consent discussions with simplified written materials can improve patient recall, comprehension and satisfaction. No standardized resources have been implemented, however. We suggest that a standardized patient information worksheet and a consent form clearly documenting a patient’s wishes, particularly those patients for whom blood transfusion is not an option, will help facilitate safe care across the entire health care team, increase anesthesiologist comfort in obtaining consent, and improve patient understanding and satisfaction.

Whether in perioperative management, trauma or obtaining consent, the challenges presented by patients who decline blood are significant. Fortunately, blood conservation methods such as cell salvage, acute normovolemic hemodilution, and newer pharmacotherapies such as prothrombin complex concentrates and recombinant products, have given physicians and patients more...

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