Manuel R. Estioko, M.D., a pioneer in transfusion-free medicine who has developed innovative surgical techniques to conserve blood during surgery, is now the Medical Director of St. John’s Hospital’s Transfusion Free Medicine & Surgery Program.
Estioko, the first doctor to introduce and popularize the term “transfusion free” medicine in 1996, has been performing cardiothoracic surgery without blood transfusions for more than 25 years.
For the most part, Estioko’s patients were Jehovah’s Witnesses, who, on religious grounds, would accept neither their own banked blood nor blood from another person. But “transfusion-free surgery” has become much more common in the past ten years, as a growing number of patients have requested it for health or personal reasons.
“The appeal of transfusion-free medicine has been fueled by the public’s growing awareness of health issues such as blood-borne viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents, even in safe donated blood,” according to Dr. Estioko. “Eliminating transfusions eliminates the unnecessary exposure to pathogens carried by donors and offers important benefits to patients, including safety, cost savings and faster recovery. The medical literature also supports that there is less incidence of infection among these patients.”
Born in the Philippines, Estioko is board certified in both surgery and cardiothoracic surgery. He was a surgeon and instructor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York for many years and at Good Samaritan Hospital Los Angeles for the past 15 years.
He is a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management (SABM), an international organization dedicated to advancing the awareness of blood conservation and transfusing and currently is a member of the board of directors.A graduate of the University of East and the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in Manila, Estioko has written book chapters and published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals on the benefits of blood conservation during surgery. He also gives lectures to professional and lay audiences both in the United States and abroad.