Is a High Red Blood Count Common After Surgery?


Quick Answer

A high red blood count after surgery is not common. In fact, approximately 90 percent of patients suffer from anemia after surgery, according to Anemia.org. Anemia is a condition where the red blood count is lower than normal.

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Full Answer

Loss of blood during surgery can lead to anemia both during and after surgery, as stated Anemia.org. The inflammatory response resulting from surgery can also lead to anemia.

If the loss of red blood cells during surgery is substantial enough, blood transfusions may be necessary. Patients who receive blood transfusions after surgery are at a bigger risk of developing infections and suffer a greater risk of mortality. Blood transfusions can also transmit infectious diseases, provoke allergic reactions and lead to the destruction of red blood cells, as reported by Anemia.org.

Having anemia before surgery increases the risk of needing blood transfusions after the surgery. This is why counting of the red blood cells is standard procedure both before and after surgery. Preoperative hemoglobin screening a minimum of 30 days before surgery is also recommended when clinically possible, according to Anemia.org.

Preoperative anemia can be caused by iron deficiency, bleeding, excessive destruction of red blood cells and chronic disease, as stated by Medicinenet.com.

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