Perioperative Management of Blood Loss in Spine Surgery

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Spine procedures are associated with high rates of blood loss which can result in a greater need for transfusions. Repeated exposure to blood products is associated with risks and adverse reactions such as transfusion-related acute lung injury, fluid shifting, and infections. With the higher number of spine procedures and the increasing open surgery times associated with difficult procedures, excessive blood loss has become more prevalent. Perioperative methods have been established to combat the excessive blood loss and decrease the need for blood products. Preoperatively, anemia and coagulopathy screening is standard at least 4 weeks before elective procedures. Erythropoietin, iron loading or transfusions are used to decrease preoperative anemia, a predisposing factor for blood loss. Autologous predonation of blood has been shown to be ineffective and decreases preoperative hemoglobin levels. Intraoperatively, antifibrinolytics such as tranexamic acid and aminocaproic acid are used to decrease blood loss. In addition, fibrinogen concentrates, thromboelastometry, acute normovolemic hemodilution, controlled hypotension, and temperature regulation are some of the techniques used to decrease blood loss and the need for transfusions. Postoperatively, fibrin sealants, shed blood salvage, and erythropoietin or intravenous iron are used in management of blood loss, especially in instances when the patient refuses blood products.

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