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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2018 Oct 5:1-3. doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2018.0154. [Epub ahead of print]

Are on-the-day group and save samples required for elective shoulder, hip and knee arthroplasties?

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Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust , Yeovil , UK.



Historically, patients undergoing an elective hip, knee or shoulder arthroplasty regularly required blood transfusions. Improved surgical techniques and perioperative optimisation have significantly decreased the requirement for blood transfusions. Currently, our patients have two group and save samples taken: one six weeks preoperatively and one on admission. This study aims to determine whether a second group and save is required prior to primary elective hip, knee or shoulder arthroplasty.


All cases of elective arthroplasty from a single centre were retrospectively analysed over a 16-month period. Each case was reviewed to determine those who had a group and save at preassessment, group and save at the time of the operation and the timing and number of blood products transfused.


A total of 711 elective arthroplasty procedures were completed with 48 patients requiring a transfusion during their admission. 9.9% of hip arthroplasty patients, 3.8% of knee arthroplasty patients and 4.9% of shoulder arthroplasty patients required a transfusion. The majority of the transfusions occurred at least 24 hours postoperatively with 0.84% of patients requiring an intraoperative transfusion.


The vast majority of transfusions were delivered more than 24 hours following the procedure, demonstrating that routinely cross-matched blood products are superfluous to requirements. It is our suggestion that a formal group and save be completed only if the need for a blood transfusion is formally established, leading to a significant cost saving, a reduction in clinical work load and patients having to undergo fewer procedures.


Arthroplasty; Elective surgery; Haematology; Orthopaedics

[Available on 2019-11-01]

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