Autologous blood transfusion in total knee replacement surgery

Br J Anaesth. 2001 May;86(5):669-73. doi: 10.1093/bja/86.5.669.


We compared allogeneic blood usage for two groups of patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery (TKR). Patients were randomized to receive either their post-operative wound drainage as an autotransfusion (n=115) after processing or to have this wound drainage discarded (n=116). Allogeneic blood was transfused in patients of either group whose haemoglobin fell below 9 g dl(-1). Only 7% of patients in the autotransfusion group required an allogeneic transfusion compared with 28% in the control group (P<0.001). There was no hospital mortality and only 3% mortality from all causes at the study completion, which spanned 6 months to 3 yr. There was a higher incidence of infection requiring intervention in the allogeneic group (P<0.036). Total patient costs were Pound Sterling 113 greater in the autotransfusion group. We conclude that in this type of surgery post-operative cell salvage is a safe and effective method for reducing allogeneic blood use.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia / methods
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Blood Transfusion / economics
  • Blood Transfusion, Autologous / economics
  • Blood Transfusion, Autologous / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care / methods*


  • Hemoglobins