Study objective: To determine the effects of secondary polycythemia on perioperative hemorrhagic and thrombotic complications.
Design: Retrospective chart review.
Setting: Surgical patients at a university-affiliated Veterans Administration Hospital.
Patients: One hundred patients with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a preoperative hemoglobin concentration (Hb) greater than 16 g/dl and 100 age-, sex-, operation-, and ASA physical status-matched control patients without secondary polycythemia having operations during January to June 1988.
Measurements and main results: Anesthetic and perioperative records were retrospectively analyzed for excessive bleeding and transfusion requirements. Charts also were retrospectively analyzed for the presence of hemorrhagic and thrombotic complications for 30 days following surgery. The secondary polycythemic patients were compared with the matched control group and did not have a higher frequency of these complications. Red blood cell transfusion requirements for patients with secondary polycythemia were less than that for the matched controls (p less than 0.005). There was no statistical difference for transfusions of other types of blood products such as platelets and fresh frozen plasma (FFP).
Conclusion: Secondary polycythemia does not impart any added perioperative risk.