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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018 Feb 21;100(4):288-294. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.17.00237.

Perioperative Allogeneic Red Blood-Cell Transfusion Associated with Surgical Site Infection After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Wexner Medical Center (J.S.E., J.L.M., A.H.G., and T.J.S.) and College of Medicine (J.H.S.), The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.



Perioperative allogeneic red blood-cell transfusion is a suspected risk factor for surgical site infection (SSI) after total joint arthroplasty (TJA), but the interrelationships among SSI risk, transfusion dose, preoperative anemia, and the presence of coagulopathies have not been well described.


Data on SSI within 1 year after surgery as well as on transfusion with blood products within 30 days after surgery were obtained for 6,788 patients who had undergone primary or revision total hip or knee arthroplasty from 2000 to 2011 in a single hospital system. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to determine the independent association between allogeneic red blood-cell transfusion and SSI.


There was a dose-dependent association between allogeneic red blood-cell transfusion and SSI, with the infection rate increasing as the transfusion dose increased from 1 unit (odds ratio [OR] = 1.97; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.38, 2.79; p < 0.001), to 2 units (OR = 2.20; CI = 1.37, 3.44; p = 0.002), to 3 units (OR = 3.66; CI = 1.72, 7.16; p = 0.001), and to >3 units (OR = 7.40; CI = 4.91, 11.03; p < 0.001) after controlling for medical comorbidities, planned procedure, preoperative anemia, and preexisting coagulopathies. A preexisting bleeding disorder (OR = 2.09; CI = 1.57, 2.80; p < 0.001) and clotting disorder (OR = 1.37; CI = 1.14, 1.64; p = 0.001) and preoperative anemia (OR = 3.90; CI = 3.31, 4.61; p < 0.001) were all independent risk factors for transfusion after adjusting for the planned procedure.


We found a dose-dependent relationship between allogeneic red blood-cell transfusion and SSI risk after total hip or knee arthroplasty. Additionally, preoperative anemia or a known bleeding or clotting disorder were risk factors for the need for allogeneic red blood-cell transfusion. Our findings underscore the need for preoperative risk assessment, methods to limit surgical tissue injury, and optimized blood conservation strategies.


Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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