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Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2009 Mar;8(3):373-6. doi: 10.1510/icvts.2008.195354. Epub 2008 Dec 15.

Retrograde autologous priming and allogeneic blood transfusions: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, McGill University, Montreal Children's Hospital, Quebec, Canada.


A literature review and meta-analysis were undertaken to assess the clinical effectiveness of retrograde autologous priming of the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit to reduce allogeneic packed red blood transfusions in adult cardiac surgery. Structured searches of Medline, Embase, Cochrane Collaboration Library, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature and Science Direct were performed to identify randomized trials comparing retrograde autologous priming to a prospective control group. A total of 21,643 studies were identified and eighteen trials were retrieved for full-text review. Six trials met eligibility criteria. Pooled estimates demonstrated that retrograde autologous priming significantly reduced the number of patients receiving intraoperative packed red cell transfusions (OR=0.36; 95% CI: 0.13, 0.94; P=0.04, I(2)=47.5%), total hospital stay packed red cell transfusions (OR=0.26; 95% CI: 0.13, 0.52; P=0.0001, I(2)=0%), and the number of units transfused of total hospital stay packed red blood cells (WMD=-0.60; 95% CI: -0.90, -0.31; P=0.0001, I(2)=0%). Retrograde autologous priming, however, did not provide a clinical benefit in reducing the number of units transfused of intraoperative packed red blood cells (WMD=-0.29; 95% CI: -0.59, 0.01; P=0.05). The combined patient population studied in the six trials was mainly primary isolated coronary artery bypass surgery. Assessing the safety of retrograde autologous priming was not possible due to limited data.

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