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The Use of Reinfusion Drains after Total Knee Arthroplasty in Patients Treated with Low Molecular Weight Heparin for Thromboembolic Prophylaxis

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The effect of closed-suction drainage with red-cell reinfusion on patients receiving low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) prophylaxis after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) has not been previously studied. Therefore, our goals were to determine the effect of reinfusion drains and LMWH on allogeneic transfusions and wound complications after TKA by comparing patients treated with and without drains. Overall, transfusion rates were lower in the drain group (40% vs 15%, P=.04). Patients with reinfusion drains had a significantly higher rate of allogeneic transfusion (15.8%) than those predonating autologous blood and no drain (5.4%, P=.0003). The drain group had lower rates of wound complications (P=not significant). We were unable to demonstrate the efficacy of red-cell reinfusion as a substitute for autologous donation in TKA.

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The authors thank Mary E. Hardwick, RN, MSN for assistance in the preparation of this article.

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Correspondence to Clifford W. Colwell Jr.

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Gordon, A.C., Pulido, P., Copp, S.N. et al. The Use of Reinfusion Drains after Total Knee Arthroplasty in Patients Treated with Low Molecular Weight Heparin for Thromboembolic Prophylaxis. HSS Jrnl 1, 19–24 (2005).

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