Neurosurgical Procedures in Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Tema Experience

  • N Andrews
Keywords: Blood transfusion, Neurosurgery, Tema, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ghana.


BACKGROUND: On account of religious reasons, Jehovah Witnesses do not accept blood or blood products; occasionally, they accept reinfusion of autologous blood via a cell saver during surgery.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to document the demographics of Jehovah Witnesses undergoing neurosurgical procedures, the neurosurgical procedures undertaken in Jehovah Witnesses and to evaluate the complications of the procedures.
METHODS: A retrospective audit of the medical records of all Jehovah’s Witnesses who underwent neurosurgical procedures at our institution, from January 1st 2000 to December 31st 2006, was carried out. The parameters
investigated included demographics, pre and post operative diagnosis, type of neurosurgical procedure and complications. RESULTS: Nineteen patients (fifteen male, four female; male/ female 3.8:1) constituted the series. The mean age was 45.8 (range: 20–65) years. A total of 21 procedures were performed; intracranial surgery (33%), spinal surgery (67%). No autotransfusion of blood was given. Lumbar laminectomy for
stenosis was the commonest spine procedure, ten (71.4%); craniotomy for tumor excision was the commonest intracranial procedure, six (85.7%). With respect to the whole series, the morbidity rate was 4.7% and the mortality rate was 4.7%; both were from intracranial surgery.
CONCLUSION: It is possible to perform certain types of neurosurgical procedures in Jehovah’s Witnesses without increasing the mortality and morbidity rate.

WAJM 2009; 28(3): 148–150.

Key words: Blood


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eISSN: 0189-160X