A one-centre prospective audit of peri- and postoperative blood loss and transfusion practice in patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery

M Roberts, R Ahya, M Greaves, N Maffulli

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We prospectively audited peri-operative blood loss and blood transfusion practice in 42 elderly patients (mean age, 71.8 years, 68% female) undergoing hip or knee surgery in an orthopaedic unit. Only in 57% of all operations was blood loss recorded. Compliance with the Maximum Surgical Blood Ordering Schedule (MSBOS) was variable, and Cross- matching to Transfusion (C/T) ratios were low. in 86% of operations, blood had been issued pre-operatively (average three units, range = 1-61 units). Of these patients, 75% subsequently received a transfusion. in 26% of all the operations, the transfusion, although confirmed by the blood transfusion laboratory records, had not been recorded in the medical or nursing notes. The average pre-operative Hb in the transfusion group was 123 g/l (range, 80-144 g/l) and 112 g/l postoperatively and after a transfusion (range, 75-133 g/l). This compared to the non-transfusion group's value of 124 g/l (range, 86-186 g/l) and 113 g/l (range, 77-147 g/l) postoperatively. The high blood issuing and transfusion rates raise the concern that transfusions are being given in response to habit or blood availability, and not medical indications. This would imply that some patients are exposed to unnecessary risks. Furthermore, inadequate documentation of the transfusion process opens the medical profession to criticism and medical, legal and ethical complications regarding patient care. Positive improvements suggested by regular medical audit may help address these problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • orthopaedic surgery
  • blood loss
  • transfusion practice
  • audit

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