You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on

This one is about: Surgery and Blood Transfusion Information

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Hi everyone. Well, we've had some experience with this but I have to stress that it was NOT for any lip or palate surgery. Peach donated her own blood (7.5 ml/kg/donation times 3 donations for a total of 345 ml -- about 1-1/2 cups of blood).

Her surgeon estimated an 80% chance of her needing blood during the surgery; in fact, she lost twice what she donated so she needed extra from the blood bank.

The rules for directed donation are different here in Canada. ONLY parents (perhaps also sibs, not sure on that) can donate directly other than the patient herself. Any blood donated is tested for various bugs. The risks of getting any bad bugs from the blood bank is extremely low. Here are the stats printed in our CANADIAN hosp's transfusion brochure:

"One in every 200,000 units of blood wil transmit Hep B. One in every 7,500 units will transmit Hep C."

"Human T-Cell Lymphotrophic Virus =risk is one in 70,000 units of blood."

"HIV: risk of getting HIV from a transfusion is now 1 in 500,000 units of blood."

The brochure continues:

Patients who receive a transfusion from a family member have a much greater risk to develop Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) (can occur in people having large doses of cancer therapy or after bone marrow transplantation.) GVHD can cause death; therefore, to prevent this the parental blood must be specially treated with irradiation.

Each transfusion a person has, has more risk than the one before. This is because the blood one receives never matches exactly one's own. Our body may produce antibodies which fight against the foreign blood. The more transfusions, the more chances of developing antibodies which can destroy the red blood cells. This is a serious reaction called Hemolytic Reaction.

The alternative to directed donation is autologous donation -- the patient donates her own blood. The blood is preserved for up to five weeks.

End of material quoted or carefully paraphrased from the brochure.

Back to our family's experience:

Our clinic (in another city) allows kids to do autologous donations at a very young age. Peach was four years old and weighed 15 kg (33 lbs). The clinic here (in the city where we live) would not allow us to donate her blood because their threshold is 20 kg and 5 years of age. As a result we flew to our clinic once a week for donations in the weeks leading up to surgery. She took an iron supplement each day and had a blood test every week to check her hemoglobin count.

Again, I have to repeat, this surgery was NOT lip or palate repair, but a repair of a bony facial cleft.

Her hospital records show for soft tissue repair (not just lip repair but also eyelid and cheek flap -- see Peach in the gallery) an *estimated* blood loss of 30 cc (or about 2 Tablespoons) and for palate repair (Furlow repair) 40 cc.

Hope this helps you.

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