A Restrictive Use of Both Autologous Donation and Recombinant Human Erythropoietin Is an Efficient Policy for Primary Total Hip or Knee Arthroplasty

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Abstract

A limitation of preoperative autologous blood donation (PABD) in nonanemics and the use of recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) in anemics (baseline hematocrit [Hct] ≤ 39%) could be an efficient approach of the cost-benefit ratio of transfusion during primary total hip (THA) or knee (TKA) arthroplasties. We evaluated the consequences on transfusion rates and costs of two different applications of a transfusion policy based on personal requirements during primary THA or TKA. This quality assuranceobservationalstudycomparedtwoprospective successive time periods; each included successive patients treated by the same medical team and standardized care. In Study 1 (n = 182), PABD was indicated if there were insufficient estimated red blood cell reserve and a life expectancy ≥10 yr, no use of EPO, and identical criteria for any transfusion. Because this policy led to a 50% allogeneic transfusion rate when baseline Hct ≤37% and autologous blood wastage in the nonanemics (baseline Hct > 39%), 2 refinements were introduced in Study 2 (n =708):EPOwithoutPABDwhenbaselineHct≤37%,and life expectancy ≥10 yr, and avoidance of PABD in nonanemics. This novel care induced a marked decrease in transfusion rates (respectively, from 41% to 7%, P < 0.0002, in nonanemics; from 58% to 27%, P <0.003, in anemics; and from 43% to 12%, P < 0.0001, overall), with no change in allogeneic transfusion (10%) and discharge Hct, and a 39% financial savings. This saving effect is a result of the suppression of PABD in nonanemics, who represent 75% of this surgical population. Although erythropoietin is expensive, it can be used with cost savings in selected patients because the overall cost of transfusion is reduced.

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