Peri-operative blood management in elective orthopaedic surgery. A critical review of the literature

Injury. 2006 Dec;37 Suppl 5:S11-6. doi: 10.1016/S0020-1383(07)70006-2.


Blood loss during orthopaedic procedures can be extensive and the need for allogeneic blood is a common requirement. However, blood transfusion conceals a number of well-recognised risks and complications and blood products have become more expensive because of their specific preparation procedure. Surgical technique, awareness of the problem and restriction of transfusion triggers are important factors affecting the management of blood loss. Several studies have additionally shown the efficacy of epoetin injections in increasing the pre-operative haemoglobin level. On the other hand, the true benefit of pre-operative autologous donation, acute normovolemic haemodilution and COX-2 selective NSAIDs remains under dispute. Regarding the role of platelet rich plasmapheresis, fibrin sealing and anti-fibinolytic drugs more data are needed. Hypotensive epidural anaesthesia seems to be an advantageous method in minimising peri-operative blood loss. However, this is not a widely performed technique in orthopaedic surgery. In addition, post-operative blood cell saving systems after total knee or hip arthroplasty have been reported to significantly minimise allogeneic blood transfusions when compared to control groups. It can be concluded that many interventions diminish more or less allogeneic blood transfusion in elective orthopaedic surgery. Nevertheless more prospective studies are needed and appropriate algorithms should be applied in peri-operative blood loss management. This review presents an overview of the available interventions which aim to diminish the use of allogeneic blood in elective orthopaedic surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Epidural
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control*
  • Blood Transfusion, Autologous
  • Elective Surgical Procedures*
  • Epoetin Alfa
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Hemodilution
  • Humans
  • Orthopedic Procedures*
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Epoetin Alfa