Can perioperative hemodilution be monitored with non-invasive measurement of blood hemoglobin?

BMC Anesthesiol. 2021 May 6;21(1):138. doi: 10.1186/s12871-021-01351-4.


Background: Trends in non-invasive measurements of blood hemoglobin (Hb) may be useful for identifying the need for transfusion in the perioperative period.

Methods: Crystalloid fluid (5-20 mL/kg) was administered intravenously or by mouth to 30 volunteers and 33 surgical patients in five non-randomized clinical studies where Hb was measured on 915 occasions by non-invasive (Radical-7™) and invasive methodology. The hemodilution curves were compared by volume kinetic analysis and linear regression, with the slope and scattering of the data as key outcome measures.

Results: The slope was 1.0, indicating unity between the two modes of measuring Hb when crystalloid fluid was infused in volunteers; however, only 40-45% of the variability in the non-invasive Hb could be explained by the invasive Hb. Patients undergoing major surgery, who showed the most pronounced hemodilution (median 24 g/L); non-invasive Hb explained 72% of the variability but indicated only half the magnitude of the invasive Hb changes (slope 0.48, P < 0.001 versus the volunteers). Simulations based on volume kinetic parameters from the volunteers showed 25% less plasma volume expansion after infusion when based on non-invasive as compared to invasive Hb, while no difference was found during infusion.

Conclusions: In volunteers the non-invasive Hb had good accuracy (low bias) but poor precision. In surgical patients the non-invasive Hb had good precision but systematically underestimated the hemodilution. Despite severe limitations, the non-invasive technology can be used to follow Hb trends during surgery if supported by occasional invasive measurements to assure acceptable quality of the hemodilution curve.

Trial registrations: NCT01195025, NCT01062776, NCT01458678, NCT03848507, and NCT01360333 on September 3, 2010, February 4, 2010, October 25, 2011, February 20, 2019, and May 25, 2011, respectively.

Keywords: Hemoglobin; Non-invasive measurement; Point of care tests; Pulse oximetry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Hemodilution*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Hemoglobins

Associated data