Intraoperative blood salvage (IBS) recovers most lost blood, and is widely used in the clinic. It is unclear why IBS does not reduce long-term postoperative requirements for red blood cells (RBCs), and 1 possibility is that IBS affects RBC lifespan.Methods:
Prospectively enrolled patients who underwent spine, pelvic, or femur surgery not involving allogeneic RBC transfusion were grouped based on whether they received IBS or not. Volumes of blood lost and of RBCs salvaged during surgery were recorded. Total blood cell counts, levels of plasma-free hemoglobin, and CD235a-positive granulocytes were determined perioperatively.Results:
Although intraoperative blood loss was higher in the IBS group (n = 45) than in the non-IBS group (n = 52) (P < .001), hemoglobin levels were similar between groups (P = .125) at the end of surgery. Hemoglobin levels increased in non-IBS patients (4 ± 11 g/L), but decreased in IBS patients (−7 ± 12 g/L) over the first 3 postoperative days. Nadir hemoglobin levels after surgery were higher in the non-IBS group (107 ± 12 g/L) than in the IBS group (91 ± 12 g/L). Salvaged RBC volume correlated with hemoglobin decrease (r = 0.422, P = .004). In multivariate analysis, salvaged RBC volume was an independent risk factor for hemoglobin decrease (adjusted odds ratio 1.002, 95% confidence interval 1.001–1.004, P = .008). Flow cytometry showed the numbers of CD235a-positive granulocytes after surgery to be higher in the IBS group than in the non-IBS group (P < .05).Conclusion:
IBS may shorten the lifespan of RBCs by triggering their engulfment upon re-infusion (China Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR-OCH-14005140).