The appropriateness of blood transfusion following primary total hip replacement

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INTRODUCTION: A significant proportion of all red cell transfusions are given to patients undergoing elective orthopaedic surgery. Concern over transfusion safety and cost, coupled with evidence showing that restrictive transfusion policies benefit patients, prompted us to audit our blood prescribing practice at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in order to assess the appropriateness of every transfusion episode following elective primary total hip replacement.<br /><br />METHODS: All patients undergoing a primary total hip replacement in our department over a six-month period were included in the study. Data were collected retrospectively using case note examination and transfusion service data. Standards were dictated by the British Orthopaedic Association guidelines on blood conservation in elective orthopaedic surgery.<br /><br />RESULTS: Twenty-seven per cent of patients (39/143) were transfused. Forty-six per cent of these (18/39) were transfused inappropriately and twenty-three per cent (9/39) appropriately. Thirteen per cent (5/39) had a valid indication for transfusion but were over-transfused and in eighteen per cent (7/39) the quality of documentation did not allow an assessment to be made. Fifty-two per cent of patients who had surgical drains (29/56) were transfused. Reaudit following staff education and amendments to the local transfusion policy did not demonstrate a reduction in transfusion rates.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: This audit showed that significant potential exists for reducing transfusion rates based on optimising prescribing practice alone. It also demonstrated that changing local practice based on audit data can be challenging.




Joy, P. J., & Bennet, S. J. (2012). The appropriateness of blood transfusion following primary total hip replacement. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 94(3).

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