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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e55073. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055073. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Post-operative auto-transfusion in total hip or knee arthroplasty: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tangdu Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Total hip or knee arthroplasty is an elective procedure that is usually accompanied by substantial blood loss, which may lead to acute anemia. As a result, almost half of total joint arthroplasty patients receive allogeneic blood transfusions (ABT). Many studies have shown that post-operative auto-transfusion (PAT) significantly reduces the need for ABT, but other studies have questioned the efficacy of this method.

METHODS:

The protocol for this trial and supporting CONSORT checklist are available as supporting information; see Checklist S1. To evaluate the efficacy of PAT, we conducted a Cochrane systematic review that combined all available data from randomized controlled trials. Data from the six included trials were pooled for analysis. We then calculated relative risks with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for dichotomous outcomes and mean differences with 95% CIs for continuous outcomes.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION:

To our knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis to compare the clinical results between PAT and a control in joint replacement patients. This meta-analysis has proven that the use of a PAT reinfusion system reduced significantly the demand for ABT, the number of patients who require ABT and the cost of hospitalization after total knee and hip arthroplasty. This study, together with other previously published data, suggests that PAT drains are beneficial. Larger, sufficiently powered studies are necessary to evaluate the presumed reduction in the incidence of infection as well as DVT after joint arthroplasty with the use of PAT.

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