Perioperative Blood Loss and Transfusion in Craniosynostosis Surgery

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Craniosynostosis has an incidence of 1 in 2000 to 2500 live births and may be corrected through several methods including total calvarial remodeling and frontal orbital advancement remodeling. Blood loss during craniosynostosis surgery can be substantial, ranging from 20% to 500% of total circulating volume with a high associated risk of transfusion-related adverse events. The authors performed a retrospective analysis of all patients undergoing surgery for craniosynostosis at a tertiary pediatric craniofacial center with a focus on blood loss and subsequent transfusion.

The authors reviewed 40 patients with craniosynostosis >16 years at a single-center. Data on perioperative blood loss and transfusion were obtained, including pre-, intra-, and postoperative hemoglobin, hematocrit, and use of tranexamic acid. The authors calculated estimated percentage of circulating red cell volume lost and transfused.

The majority of patients had sagittal synostosis and underwent total calvarial remodeling (n = 20); the rest underwent frontal orbital advancement remodeling (n = 19) or lambdoid correction (n = 1). The average estimated volume red cell loss was 77% of circulating volume and 90% of patients received blood transfusion with an average 88.3% transfusion of circulating red cell volume. Longer operative time, younger age, and lower weight predisposed to >50% blood volume transfusion (P = 0.032, <0.005, <0.005 respectively).

This single-center observational study reports red cell volume loss and volume of transfusion in children undergoing surgical correction of craniosynostosis. Red cell volume loss was comparative to that in the literature and in this cohort longer operative time, younger age, and lower weight predisposed to >50% blood volume transfusion.

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