In a prospective randomized study of elderly patients, a total of 130 units of blood were donated by 45 patients prior to a total hip arthroplasty. Fifteen patients served as controls (no phlebotomy). The average age was 71 (60-82) years. No major complication occurred with phlebotomy. All the patients were albe to maintain their hematologic and chemical parameters within the normal range throughout the donation period. The autologous blood covered all the peroperative transfusion needs and 97 percent of the total transfusion requirements. There was less postoperative blood loss, as well as total blood loss, in the autologous groups compared with the control group. There was no difference in the rate of postoperative complications between the groups. The use of predeposited autologous blood in elective orthopedics, regardless of patient age, is feasible, cost effective, and avoids the risks associated with homologous blood transfusion.
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