The effect of spinal anesthesia on blood transfusion rate in total joint arthroplasty

Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie (Impact Factor: 1.51). 01/2007; 49(6):391-6.
Source: PubMed


Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) patients often receive allogeneic blood transfusion. The use of regional anesthesia (RA) is thought to protect against the need for blood transfusion, but many randomized trials of RA in TJA have not reached this conclusion unanimously. We sought to describe the effect of RA on allogeneic transfusion in a large retrospective TJA series.
We examined data from all TJAs performed in Edmonton, Alberta, in the year 2000 (n = 1875) and used logistic regression modelling to determine the relation between the use of RA and allogeneic transfusion.
Twenty-eight percent of TJA subjects received an allogeneic transfusion. Transfusion was independently associated with increasing age, decreasing body mass, decreasing preoperative hemoglobin, female sex, increased comorbidity and prolonged operative time. After controlling for these factors, we found that the use of RA (in the form of spinal anesthesia) compared with general anesthesia reduced the odds ratio (OR) for transfusion to 0.729 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.559-0.949). This represents the combination of a strong relation between RA and transfusion prevention in hip arthroplasty (OR 0.646, 95% CI 0.443-0.944) and a nonsignificant relation in knee arthroplasty (OR 0.825, 95% CI 0.564-1.208).
The use of spinal anesthesia protects against allogeneic transfusion in arthroplasty of the hip but not the knee. This is consistent with what is known about the hemodynamic consequences of spinal anesthesia.

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