Open Craniosynostosis Surgery: Effect of Early Intraoperative Blood Transfusion on Postoperative Course

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Correction of craniosynostosis can result in blood loss when the patient already has physiologic anemia. The aim of this study was to determine whether patients benefit from early blood transfusion and whether the timing of blood transfusion affects metabolic disturbances and the postoperative course. In this retrospective review, 71 patients who underwent open calvarial vault remodeling for correction of craniosynostosis were separated into 2 groups according to whether they received blood transfusions early (within the first 30 minutes of surgery) or later (after the first 30 minutes of surgery). Patients were further separated into nonsyndromic and syndromic cohorts. Tracked variables included hemoglobin, hematocrit, arterial blood gas values, lactate level, length of stay, estimated blood loss, and amount of blood transfused in the operating room, amount transfused postoperatively, and total amount transfused.

Among all patients, the early transfusion group had a higher hemoglobin nadir overall and received less postoperative blood. Within the nonsyndromic cohort, the early transfusion group had a higher estimated blood loss and received more transfused blood. In the syndromic cohort, the early transfusion group had a hemoglobin nadir that was significantly higher than in the late transfusion group and a lower estimated blood loss, shorter pediatric intensive care unit stay, and less postoperative blood transfused. Syndromic patients also received significantly more blood overall. For syndromic patients undergoing open calvarial vault remodeling, transfusion within the first 30 minutes of surgery should be considered.

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