Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 160, Issue 7, pp 1483–1489 | Cite as

Red blood cell transfusion probability and associated costs in neurosurgical procedures

  • Martin BarthEmail author
  • Christel Weiss
  • Kirsten Schmieder
Original Article - Neurosurgical Techniques



The extent of red blood cell units (RBC) needed for different neurosurgical procedures and the time point of their administration are widely unknown, which results in generously cross-matching prior to surgery. However, RBC are increasingly requested in the aging western populations, and blood donations are significantly reduced. Therefore, the knowledge of the extent and time point of administration of RBC is of major importance.


This is a retrospective single center analysis. The incidence of RBC transfusion during surgery or within 48 h after surgery was analyzed for all neurosurgical patients within 3 years. Costs for cross-matched and transfused RBC were calculated and risk factors for RBC transfusion analyzed.


The risk of intraoperative RBC administration was low for spinal and intracranial tumor resections (1.87%) and exceeded 10% only in spinal fusion procedures. This was dependent on the number of fused segments with an intraoperative transfusion risk of > 12.5% with fusion of more than three levels. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed a significantly increased risk for RBC transfusion for female gender (p = 0.006; OR 1.655), higher age (N = 4812; p < 0.0001; OR 1.028), and number of fused segments (N = 737; p < 0.0001; OR 1.433). Annual costs for cross-matching were 783,820.88 USD and for intraoperative RBC administration 121,322.13 USD.


Neurosurgical procedures are associated with a low number of RBC needed intraoperatively. Only elective spine fusion procedures with ≥ 3 levels involved and AVM resections seem to require cross-matching of RBC. The present data may allow changing the preoperative algorithm of RBC cross-matching in neurosurgical procedures and help to save resources and costs.


Transfusion probability Neurosurgery Costs 



Red blood cell units


Arteriovenous malformation

C/T ratio

Cross-matched to transfused ratio


Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage


Preoperative autologous blood donation


Cost of Blood Consensus Conference


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge, or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Ethical approval

Although this is a retrospective analysis, an ethical approval has been obtained. All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. With its retrospective character, no informed consent had to be obtained from all individual participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Barth
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christel Weiss
    • 3
  • Kirsten Schmieder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryRuhr-University Bochum, Klinikum Frankfurt HöchstFrankfurtGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Medical Statistics, University Medicine Mannheim, Medical Faculty Mannheim of the University of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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