Original Article

HSS Journal

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 141-144

First online:

Nonanemic Patients Do Not Benefit from Autologous Blood Donation Before Total Knee Replacement

  • Stephen KimAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Eric AltneuAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Jad Bou MonsefAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Elizabeth A. KingAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Thomas P. SculcoAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery
  • , Friedrich BoettnerAffiliated withHospital for Special Surgery Email author 

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A retrospective analysis of 221 patients undergoing unilateral total knee arthroplasty between January 2007 and April 2008 was performed to look at rates of total transfusions, allogenic transfusions, and autogenic transfusions. Two senior surgeons performed all the surgeries. During that period, patients in group A (129 patients) all donated one unit of autologous blood and patients in group B (92 patients) did not donate. Within both groups, patients were further divided by preoperative hemoglobin level as either anemic or non-anemic. A hemoglobin of 12.5 g/dL was used as the cutoff. Ninety-eight patients in group A (76%) required autologous blood. Patients in group A received a higher total number of transfusions (0.93 per patient) than those in group B (0.33 per patient; p < 0.001). The rate of allogenic transfusion was lower for group A (14%) than for group B (25%; p < 0.033). The reduction of allogenic transfusions associated with preoperative autologous blood donation was confined to anemic patients (29% in group A vs 72% in group B; p = 0.0006). There was no difference in allogenic blood transfusions in non-anemic patients between group A (8%) and group B (9%; p = 0.91). Limiting autologous blood donation to anemic patients decreased cost compared to routine autologous blood donation (US $256.63/patient versus US $511.44/patient) without exposing patients to increased allogenic blood transfusions. Targeted blood management in total knee replacement surgery decreases transfusion rates and reduces cost.


primary total knee replacement autologous blood transfusion blood management