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Vox Sang. 1992;63(2):90-5.

Prevalence and classification of anemia in elective orthopedic surgery patients: implications for blood conservation programs.

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Department of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio.


We audited 281 consecutive orthopedic patients scheduled for surgery for whom blood type/cross-matching was requested over a 6-month period. One hundred and sixty-two patients predonated autologous blood at University Hospitals of Cleveland, and 34 (21%) of these were anemic [hematocrit (Hct) less than or equal to 39%] at initial donation. Twelve (35%) of these 34 anemic autologous blood donors subsequently received homologous blood. In contrast, 18 (15%) of 128 nonanemic autologous blood donors received homologous blood (p = 0.05). In 119 patients who did not donate autologous blood, 39 (33%) were anemic at admission. Of these, 22 (56%) received homologous blood. In the 80 remaining nonanemic patients, 33 (41%) received homologous blood (p = 0.119). Analysis of discharge Hct indicates that 31 (12%) of 263 evaluable patients were possibly transfused inappropriately. The anemias of a cohort of 30 autologous donors were analyzed: 5 had rheumatoid arthritis without iron deficiency. Nine (30%) others had evidence of iron deficiency. Sixteen (53%) had an unclassified anemia of chronic disease. We conclude: (1) the high rates of homologous blood exposure indicate a need for innovative blood conservation strategies in anemic autologous blood donors; (2) the prevalence of anemia and the high rates of homologous blood exposure in anemic patients who did not donate autologous blood demonstrate a need for early recognition and treatment in order to procure autologous blood and reduce homologous blood exposure; (3) the presence of inappropriate autologous and homologous transfusions demonstrates a need for more effective physician education programs that emphasize 'no blood transfusion' as an alternative to enhance blood conservation effectiveness.

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