Purpose: The present case-control study was conducted to evaluate whether acute normovolemic hemodilution (ANH) can reduce the need for perioperative allogeneic blood transfusion (ABT) and affect the incidence of perioperative complications in free-flap reconstruction of the head and neck.
Methods: This single-center, retrospective, observational study included the perioperative data of 123 patients who underwent free-flap reconstruction of the head and neck following oncological surgery. Patients were divided into the following two groups according to whether they received ANH: ANH group and non-ANH group. We investigated whether ANH can reduce the need for perioperative ABT using propensity score-adjusted logistic regression analysis.
Results: Of the 123 patients, 113 patients were assessed; 57 patients were in the ANH group and 56 patients were in the non-ANH group. The rate [ANH group vs. non-ANH group, n (%): 2 (3.5%) vs. 23 (41.1%), p < 0.0001] and amount [median (IQR): 0 mL (0, 0) vs. 0 mL (0, 280), p < 0.0001] of ABT were significantly lower in the ANH group than in the non-ANH group. Propensity score-adjusted multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that ANH use [odds ratio (OR): 0.040; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.005, 0.320; p = 0.0024)] was one of the independent predictors of perioperative ABT. There were no significant differences in the incidences of post-operative complications between the two groups.
Conclusion: ANH use can reduce the need for perioperative ABT in patients undergoing free-flap reconstruction of the head and neck without increasing the incidence of post-operative complications.
Keywords: Acute normovolemic hemodilution; Allogeneic blood transfusion; Free-flap reconstruction of the head and neck; Oncological surgery; Post-operative complication.