Reliability of Point-of-Care Hematocrit Measurement During Liver Transplantation

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although point-of-care (POC) analyzers are commonly used during liver transplantation (LT), the accuracy of hematocrit measurement using a POC analyzer has not been evaluated. In this retrospective observational study, we aimed to evaluate the accuracy of hematocrit measurement using a POC analyzer and identify potential contributors to the measurement error and their influence on mistransfusion during LT.

METHODS:

We retrospectively collected 6461 pairs of simultaneous intraoperative hematocrit measurements using POC analyzers and laboratory devices during LTs in 901 patients. The agreement of hematocrit measurements was assessed using Bland-Altman analysis for repeated measurements, while the incidence and magnitude of hematocrit measurement error were compared among 16 different laboratory abnormality categories. A generalized estimating equation analysis was performed to identify potential contributors to falsely low-measured POC hematocrit. Additionally, we defined potential “overtransfusion” in the case when POC hematocrit was <20% and laboratory hematocrit was ≥20% and investigated its association with intraoperative transfusion.

RESULTS:

The POC hematocrit measurements were falsely lower than the laboratory hematocrit measurements in 70.3% (4541/6461) of pairs. The median (interquartile range) of hematocrit measurement error was −1.20 (−2.60 to 0.20). Bland-Altman analysis showed that 24.5% (1583/6461) of the errors were outside our a priori defined clinically acceptable limits of ±3%. The incidence of falsely low-measured hematocrit was significantly higher with the presence of concomitant hypoalbuminemia and hypoproteinemia. Hypoalbuminemia combined with hyperglycemia showed significantly larger hematocrit measurement error. Hypoalbuminemia, hypoproteinemia, and hyperglycemia were predictors of falsely low-measured hematocrit. Furthermore, the overtransfusion group showed larger amount of transfusion than the adequately transfused group, with a median difference of 2 units (95% confidence interval [0–4], P = .039), despite similar amount of blood loss.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hematocrit measured using the POC device tends to be lower than the laboratory hematocrit measured during LT. Commonly encountered laboratory abnormalities during LT include hypoalbuminemia, hypoproteinemia, and hyperglycemia, which may contribute to falsely low-measured POC hematocrit. Careful consideration of these confounders may help reduce overtransfusion that occurs due to falsely low-measured POC hematocrit.

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