Patients undergoing total hip replacement routinely receive perioperative blood transfusions, increasing their risk of blood-borne disease, isoimmunization, anaphylactic reaction, and hemolytic reaction. The purpose of this retrospective, case-control study was to evaluate the effect of postoperative blood salvage on the need for allogeneic transfusion following total hip replacement.We reviewed the medical records of ninety consecutive patients who, during a twelve-month period, had undergone unilateral, elective total hip replacement that included use of a postoperative blood salvage device. For comparison, we reviewed the medical records of ninety consecutive patients who had undergone total hip replacement without postoperative blood salvage. Overall, 156 patients had complete medical records and were included in the study.Eight (10 percent) of the patients who had been treated with a drain and seventeen (23 percent) of the patients who had been treated without a drain received allogeneic transfusions. Of the nineteen patients who had not deposited autologous blood, all six without postoperative blood salvage required allogeneic transfusion. With control for other variables in the model, regression analysis showed a significantly increased risk of allogeneic transfusion among patients who had undergone total hip replacement without postoperative blood salvage (p = 0.0028) and without having predonated autologous units (p = 0.0001).Despite a limited sample size, the study results showed that postoperative blood salvage significantly reduced the risk of allogeneic transfusion among patients managed with total hip replacement, whether or not they had deposited autologous blood (p < 0.0001). With control for donated units, age, gender, preoperative hematocrit, intraoperative blood loss, and cementless technique, patients who were treated without postoperative blood salvage were approximately ten times more likely to require allogeneic transfusion than were patients who had a drain.
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