Preoperative anaemia is common in patients undergoing orthopaedic and other major surgery. Anaemia is associated with increased risks of postoperative mortality and morbidity, infectious complications, prolonged hospitalization, and a greater likelihood of allogeneic red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. Evidence of the clinical and economic disadvantages of RBC transfusion in treating perioperative anaemia has prompted recommendations for its restriction and a growing interest in approaches that rely on patients' own (rather than donor) blood. These approaches are collectively termed ‘patient blood management’ (PBM). PBM involves the use of multidisciplinary, multimodal, individualized strategies to minimize RBC transfusion with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes. PBM relies on approaches (pillars) that detect and treat perioperative anaemia and reduce surgical blood loss and perioperative coagulopathy to harness and optimize physiological tolerance of anaemia. After the recent resolution 63.12 of the World Health Assembly, the implementation of PBM is encouraged in all WHO member states. This new standard of care is now established in some centres in the USA and Austria, in Western Australia, and nationally in the Netherlands. However, there is a pressing need for European healthcare providers to integrate PBM strategies into routine care for patients undergoing orthopaedic and other types of surgery in order to reduce the use of unnecessary transfusions and improve the quality of care. After reviewing current PBM practices in Europe, this article offers recommendations supporting its wider implementation, focusing on anaemia management, the first of the three pillars of PBM.
anaemia; outcome; patient blood management; transfusion
The correction of anaemia prior to total hip arthroplasty reduces surgical risk, hospital stay and cost. This study considers the benefits of implementing a protocol of identifying and treating pre-operative anaemia whilst the patient is on the waiting list for surgery.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
From a prospective series of 322 patients undergoing elective total hip arthroplasty (THA), patients identified as anaemic (haemoglobin (Hb) < 12 g/dl) when initially placed upon the waiting list were appropriately investigated and treated. Pre- and postoperative Hb levels, need for transfusion, and length of hospital stay were collated for the entire patient cohort.
Of the cohort, 8.8% of patients were anaemic when initially placed upon the waiting list for THA and had a higher transfusion rate (23% versus 3%; P < 0.05) and longer hospital stay (7.5 days versus 6.6 days; P < 0.05). Over 40% of these patients responded to investigation and treatment whilst on the waiting list, showing a significant improvement in Hb level (10.1 g/dl to 12.7 g/dl) and improved transfusion rate.
Quantifying the haemoglobin level of patients when initially placed on the waiting list helps highlight those at risk of requiring a postoperative blood transfusion. Further, the early identification of anaemia allows for the utilisation of the waiting-list time to investigate and treat these patients. For patients who respond to treatment, there is a significant reduction in the need for blood transfusion with its inherent hazards.
Total hip arthroplasty; Anaemia
Background and objectives
Many patients with chronic anaemia require blood transfusions as part of their treatment regimen. As a result, iron overload will inevitably develop if not adequately managed by iron chelation therapy. There are many guidelines relating to transfusion and chelation practices for patients with transfusion-dependent anaemia; however, there is a lack of information on how treatment practices differ around the world. The objective of this manuscript is to highlight key features of current transfusion and chelation management, including similarities and differences across various anaemias and between geographical regions worldwide.
Materials and methods
Data collected at study entry to the multicentre Evaluation of Patients’ Iron Chelation with Exjade (EPIC) study, which recruited 1,744 patients with a variety of transfusion-dependent anaemias across 23 countries from three geographic regions, were assessed. These analyses compared transfusion and chelation treatment prior to the start of study treatment, together with iron burden assessed at study entry by serum ferritin, liver iron concentration and labile plasma iron levels.
Results and conclusions
Data show that transfusion and iron chelation practices differ between anaemias and between geographical regions; this may be linked to availability and accessibility of transfusion and chelation therapy, patients’ compliance, physicians’ attitudes, costs and use of treatment guidelines. Approximately 60% of these transfusion-dependent patients were severely iron overloaded with a serum ferritin level over 2,500 ng/mL, indicating that the risks of iron burden may have been underestimated and current iron chelation therapy, if considered, may not have been adequate to control iron burden.
transfusion practice; chelation practice; iron overload
Preoperative over-ordering of blood is common and leads to the wastage of blood bank resources. The preoperative blood ordering and transfusion practices for common elective general surgical procedures were evaluated in our university hospital to formulate a maximum surgical blood order schedule (MSBOS) for those procedures where a cross-match appears necessary.
We evaluated blood ordering practices retrospectively in all elective general surgical procedures in our institution over a 6-month period. Cross-match-to-transfusion ratios (C:T) were calculated and compared to current trust and the British Society of Haematology (BSH) guidelines. The adjusted C:T ratio was also calculated and was defined as the C:T ratio when only cross-matched blood used intraoperatively was included in the calculation.
541 patients were identified during the 6-month period. There were 314 minor and 227 major surgeries carried out. 99.6% (n = 226) of the patients who underwent major surgery and 95.5% (n = 300) of the patients having minor surgery had at least a group and save (G and S) test preoperatively. A total of 507 units of blood were cross-matched and 238 units were used. The overall C:T ratio was therefore 2.1:1, which corresponds to a 46.9% red cell usage. There was considerable variation in the C:T ratio, depending on the type of surgery performed. The adjusted C:T ratio varied between 3.75 and 37.
Compliance with transfusion policies is poor and over-ordering of blood products commonplace. Implementation of the updated recommended MSBOS and introduction of G and S for eligible surgical procedures is a safe, effective and cost-effective method to prevent preoperative over-ordering of blood in elective general surgery. Savings of GBP 8,596.00 per annum are achievable with the incorporation of updated evidence-based guidelines in our university hospital.
Cross-match/transfusion ratio; Transfusion; Surgery; Maximum surgical blood ordering schedule; MSBOS
There is increasing evidence that the anaemia of surgery is not iron deficient and is, therefore, unresponsive to iron supplementation. Oral iron is best avoided postoperatively, particularly in children, due to its dose-dependent side effects. We undertook a national survey of major paediatric orthopaedic surgical units in the UK to investigate the current management of postoperative anaemia with particular reference to iron supplementation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Middle-grade doctors and charge nurses at 23 major paediatric orthopaedic units in the UK were contacted by telephone and a structured questionnaire was used to determine the management of postoperative anaemia in major hip, pelvic and spinal surgery.
Only one (4.3%) of the units surveyed had a formally established protocol for the management of postoperative anaemia. Only 10 out of 23 units (43.5%) did not routinely prescribe iron postoperatively. Of the remaining units, 11 commenced iron based on the postoperative haemoglobin level while only 2 used iron supplementation after investigation of serum haematinics for iron deficiency. One unit used erythropoietin in the treatment of postoperative anaemia.
Iron supplementation continues to be used in major paediatric orthopaedic surgery in the treatment of postoperative anaemia in the absence of iron deficiency. Given the current available evidence, we call for an end to the practice of routine iron supplementation for postoperative anaemia following major paediatric orthopaedic surgery in the UK.
Postoperative anaemia; Iron supplementation; Survey
Intravenous (i.v.) iron can improve anaemia of chronic disease and response to erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), but data on its use in practice and without ESAs are limited. This study evaluated effectiveness and tolerability of ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) in routine treatment of anaemic cancer patients.
Patients and methods
Of 639 patients enrolled in 68 haematology/oncology practices in Germany, 619 received FCM at the oncologist's discretion, 420 had eligible baseline haemoglobin (Hb) measurements, and 364 at least one follow-up Hb measurement. Data of transfused patients were censored from analysis before transfusion.
The median total iron dose was 1000 mg per patient (interquartile range 600–1500 mg). The median Hb increase was comparable in patients receiving FCM alone (1.4 g/dl [0.2–2.3 g/dl; N = 233]) or FCM + ESA (1.6 g/dl [0.7–2.4 g/dl; N = 46]). Patients with baseline Hb up to 11.0 g/dl and serum ferritin up to 500 ng/ml benefited from FCM treatment (stable Hb ≥11.0 g/dl). Also patients with ferritin >500 ng/ml but low transferrin saturation benefited from FCM treatment. FCM was well tolerated, 2.3% of patients reported putative drug-related adverse events.
The substantial Hb increase and stabilisation at 11–12 g/dl in FCM-treated patients suggest a role for i.v. iron alone in anaemia correction in cancer patients.
anaemia; cancer-induced anaemia; chemotherapy-induced anaemia; ferric carboxymaltose; intravenous iron; iron deficiency
The Italian and European Best Practice Guidelines (EBPG) recommend a target haemoglobin value greater than 11 g/dl in most patients with Chronic Kidney Diseases. However, it is still difficult to maintain these values at a steady rate. Thus, the main aim of the study was to evaluate, throughout 2005, how many patients steadily maintained the performance targets related to anaemia treatment.
The survey was conducted on 3283 patients on haemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD) at 20 Italian dialysis centres. 540 patients were randomly selected; each centre provided a statistically significant sample proportional to its total number of patients. Maintenance of the following target levels was assessed over time: Haemoglobin (HB) 11-12 gr/dl; Iron: 60-160 mcg/dl; Ferritin: 30-400 mcg/l; Transferrin: 200-360 mg/dl; Transferrin saturation percentage (TSAT %):> 25 <50; Dialysis doses (KT/V): >1.2 <2.0 for non-diabetic HD patients; >1.5 <2.2 for diabetic HD patients; DP: >1.8 <2.5.
1- Percentage of target maintenance for each parameter.
2- Erythropoietin dose in relation to dialysis techniques, presence of cancer or myeloma, diabetic status, Vitamin B therapy.
3- Erythropoietin dose (International Units/kg/week) (IU/kg/wk) depending on: haemoglobin values, hospitalization of more than 3 days.
Mean age was 65.1; mean haemoglobin concentration over the whole population was 11.3 gr/dl (Standard Deviation (SD): 0.91). The clinical performance targets were maintained over time as follows: HB: 4.3% (Mean 11.43 gr/dl) (SD: 0.42); Ferritin: 71.1% (Mean: 250.23 mcg/L (SD:104.07); Iron: 95.0% (Mean 59.79 mcg/dl)(SD:16.76); Transferrin: 44.8% (Mean 216.83 mg/dl) (SD: 19,50); TSAT %: in 8.4% (Mean: 34.33% (SD: 6.56); HD KT/V: 61.0% (Mean:1.46) (SD: 0.7); PD KT/V:31.4% (Mean: 2.10) (SD: 0.02). The average weekly dose of Erythropoietin (IU/Kg/Wk) was significantly lower for the peritoneal dialysis technique; the higher haemoglobin values, the lower the Erythropoietin dose (IU/Kg/Wk).
A very low percentage of patients maintained haemoglobin target values over time. We need to identify precise criteria to evaluate the stability over time of clinical performance targets proposed by the guidelines.
Guidelines for the management of anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) recommend a minimal haemoglobin (Hb) target of 11 g/dL. Recent surveys indicate that this requirement is not met in many patients in Europe. In most studies, Hb is only assessed over a short-term period. The aim of this study was to examine the control of anaemia over a continuous long-term period in Switzerland.
A prospective multi-centre observational study was conducted in dialysed patients treated with recombinant human epoetin (EPO) beta, over a one-year follow-up period, with monthly assessments of anaemia parameters.
Three hundred and fifty patients from 27 centres, representing 14% of the dialysis population in Switzerland, were included. Mean Hb was 11.9 ± 1.0 g/dL, and remained stable over time. Eighty-five % of the patients achieved mean Hb ≥ 11 g/dL. Mean EPO dose was 155 ± 118 IU/kg/week, being delivered mostly by subcutaneous route (64–71%). Mean serum ferritin and transferrin saturation were 435 ± 253 μg/L and 30 ± 11%, respectively. At month 12, adequate iron stores were found in 72.5% of patients, whereas absolute and functional iron deficiencies were observed in only 5.1% and 17.8%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that diabetes unexpectedly influenced Hb towards higher levels (12.1 ± 0.9 g/dL; p = 0.02). One year survival was significantly higher in patients with Hb ≥ 11 g/dL than in those with Hb <11 g/dL (19.7% vs 7.3%, p = 0.006).
In comparison to European studies of reference, this survey shows a remarkable and continuous control of anaemia in Swiss dialysis centres. These results were reached through moderately high EPO doses, mostly given subcutaneously, and careful iron therapy management.
Background: Anaemic crises in paediatric patients with sickle cell anaemia are major causes of morbidity and mortality. Some children admitted to hospitals' emergency rooms or paediatric wards of the hospitals with severe anaemia die before blood transfusion.
Aims and Methods: A total of 108 episodes of anaemic crises were prospectively evaluated in 108 patients with sickle cell anaemia attending the paediatric sickle cell clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.
Results: Hyper-haemolytic crises were the commonest types of anaemic crises in the patients studied. The mean haemoglobin concentration of 44.66 (SD 6.42) g/l in crises was significantly lower than the mean steady state level of 78.69 (SD 8.50) g/l. Reticulocytes, unconjugated serum bilirubin concentrations, and the presence of nucleated red blood cells were also increased. About 4.6% of patients were not jaundiced at presentation even though they were profoundly anaemic. Their haematological indices gradually returned to normal without marked changes in their serum bilirubin concentrations. These patients were probably in the early recovery phase of aplastic crises. The classical presentation of acute splenic sequestration crisis with a rapidly enlarging spleen and hypotension was not observed. This was probably because of its precipitate nature and accompanying circulatory collapse, which carried a high mortality rate. Minor forms of sequestration crises may have occurred in the liver and spleen.
Conclusions: Malaria appeared to have played a role in precipitating some of the hyper-haemolytic episodes. Further studies to elucidate this role are required so that appropriate recommendations regarding malaria prophylaxis can be made in patients with sickle cell anaemia.
Red blood cells are still transfused inappropriately in spite of recent media attention and public awareness about the risks of blood products. A prospective audit was conducted to determine the avoidable blood transfusion rates in the elective perioperative setting utilising the guidelines issued by the American College of Physicians (ACP). Of 82 consecutive adult patients who were admitted for major elective surgery over a 3-month period, 28 were transfused a total of 94 units of homologous SAG-M blood, of which 50 (53%) were inappropriate as recommended by the ACP guidelines. Violations of the guidelines were perioperative transfusion in bleeding patients who were haemodynamically stable (31%) and transfusion in asymptomatic, stable patients solely to attain a haemoglobin level above 10 g% (22%). There is a need for objective, easily adaptable and widely disseminated consensus guidelines to the indications for red blood cell transfusion.
Patients undergoing elective orthopedic surgeries often incur excess blood loss necessitating transfusion. The preoperative placement of blood requests frequently overshoots the actual need resulting in unnecessary crossmatching.
Our primary goal was to audit the blood utilization in elective orthopedic surgeries in our hospital over a 1-year period and recommend a blood ordering schedule.
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective analysis of patients who underwent elective orthopedic surgeries over a period of 1 year was done. The data collected include patients’ age, sex, type of surgical procedure, pre- and postoperative hemoglobin (Hb) levels, number of units crossmatched, returned, transfused, crossmatch to transfusion ratio (C:T), transfusion indices, estimated blood loss for each surgical procedure, and the actual and predicted fall in Hb. We propose a blood ordering schedule based on surgical blood ordering equation.
Results and Conclusions:
A total of 487 patients with a median age of 37±17 years (mean ± standard deviation) were evaluated. One thousand three hundred and seventy-seven units of blood were crossmatched and only 564 units were transfused to 260 patients. Fifty-nine percent of the units crossmatched were not transfused. Six of the 12 elective procedures had a C:T ratio higher than 2.5. Ten of the 12 procedures (83.3%) had a low transfusion index (TI < 0.5). The calculated red blood cell units were less than 0.5 in 5 of the 12 elective procedures, and hence we recommend a group and save policy for these procedures. Blood ordering schedule based on patient and surgical variables would provide an efficient way of blood utilization and management of resources.
Audit; blood ordering schedule; elective orthopedic surgeries; surgical blood ordering equation; transfusion
Allogeneic blood transfusion (ABT) is frequently used as the first therapeutic option for the treatment of acute anaemia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), especially when it developed due to gastrointestinal or perioperative blood loss, but is not risk-free. Adverse effects of ABT include, but are not limited to, acute hemolytic reaction (wrong blood or wrong patient), febrile non-hemolytic transfusional reaction, bacterial contamination, transfusion-related acute lung injury, transfusion associated circulatory overload, transfusion-related immuno-modulation, and transmission of almost all infectious diseases (bacteria, virus, protozoa and prion), which might result in increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Unfortunately, the main physiological goal of ABT, i.e. to increase oxygen consumption by the hypoxic tissues, has not been well documented. In contrast, the ABT is usually misused only to increase the haemoglobin level within a fixed protocol [mostly two by two packed red blood cell (PRC) units] independently of the patient’s tolerance to normovolemic anaemia or his clinical response to the transfusion of PRC units according to a “one-by-one” administration schedule. Evidence-based clinical guidelines may promote best transfusion practices by implementing restrictive transfusion protocols, thus reducing variability and minimizing the avoidable risks of transfusion, and the use of autologous blood and pharmacologic alternatives. In this regard, preoperative autologous blood donation (PABD) consistently diminished the frequency of ABT, although its contribution to ABT avoidance is reduced when performed under a transfusion protocol. In addition, interpretation of utility of PABD in surgical IBD patients is hampered by scarcity of published data. However, the role of autologous red blood cells as drug carriers is promising. Finally, it must be stressed that a combination of methods used within well-constructed protocols will offer better prospects for blood conservation in selected IBD patients undergoing elective surgery.
Anaemia; Blood transfusion; Autologous blood transfusion; Inflammatory bowel diseases; Risk assessment
Severe anaemic foetuses of Rhesus (Rh) isoimmunised mothers are usually treated by intrauterine transfusion (IUT). It is helpful to determine the volume of blood necessary to raise the concentration of haemoglobin by 1.0 g/dL in response to intrauterine transfusions.
In this cross-sectional, observational study we evaluated 107 first IUT for the correction of anaemia caused by haemolysis triggered by maternal Rh immunisation. The concentration of foetal haemoglobin was determined in umbilical cord blood before and after the IUT. The variation in foetal concentration of haemoglobin after transfusion was compared between groups of hydropic and non-hydropic foetuses, between groups of foetuses with different degrees of anaemia and with groups of gestational age less than or more than 28 weeks. The t-test for averages and ANOVA were used to compare average differences among the groups. p values less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Fifty-five (61.4%) foetuses were found to be anaemic while hydrops was observed in 40 (44%) at the time of the IUT. The volume of red blood cell concentrate infused varied from 5 to 90 mL, with 11.2±1.5 mL being necessary to raise the circulating concentration of haemoglobin by 1.0 g/dL. The foetal response was not influenced significantly by either the degree of foetal anaemia (p=0.56) or the presence of hydrops (p=0.17). The foetuses with a gestational age of 28 weeks or less required a smaller volume of red blood cell concentrate than those with a gestational age of more than 28 weeks (9.3±5.4 mL and 13.4±4.8 mL, respectively; p<0.0001) in order to raise their concentration of circulating haemoglobin by 1.0 g/dL.
The volume of red blood cell concentrate necessary to correct anaemia in pregnancies complicated by Rh isoimmunisation must be considered carefully, since the response to the infusion of blood is peculiar in extremely premature infants. Hydrops and the degree of anaemia were not determinants of the change in the final concentration of circulating haemoglobin following the blood transfusion.
foetal anaemia; Rh isoimmunisation; intrauterine transfusion; blood volume
Traditional wisdom is that wound healing is directly related to haemoglobin level in the blood; therefore blood transfusion is given in anaemic patients to raise the haemoglobin level for better wound healing.
Evaluation of wound healing in the form of split thickness skin graft take was done in 35 normovolaemic anaemic patients (haemoglobin level of < 10 gm/ dl) and compared with control group (patients with haemoglobin level of 10 or > 10 gm/ dl).
There was no statistically significant difference in mean graft take between the two groups.
It is not mandatory to keep haemoglobin level at or >10 g/dL or PCV value at or >30% for skin graft take, as mild to moderate anaemia per se does not cause any deleterious effect on wound healing; provided perfusion is maintained by adequate circulatory volume. Prophylactic transfusion to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood for the purpose of wound healing is not indicated in asymptomatic normovolemic anaemic patients (with haemoglobin levels greater than 6g/dL) without significant cardiovascular or pulmonary disease.
Anaemia; skin graft take; wound healing
During the 25 years 1952--77 31 surgical procedures were performed on children aged up to 16 years with sickle cell anaemia (SCA). Six emergency operations were carried out, all for complications of SCA indistinguishable from the acute surgical conditions they mimicked. Seventeen minor operations were well tolerated and major surgery was undertaken 8 times, including 5 splenectomies for hypersplenism and increased transfusion requirements. The preparation for surgery by planned multiple transfusions and the indications for splenectomy are discussed. Recommendations are made for the preparation of patients for acute and routine surgery.
Anaemia is a common problem in surgical patients. Patients with critical limb ischaemia (CLI) suffer chronic inflammation, repeated infection, require intervention, and can have a protracted hospital stay. The aims of this study were to assess anaemia and nutritional status in patients presenting with CLI.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Two observational studies were undertaken, initially a retrospective series of 27 patients with CLI. Patient demographics, clinical details, transfusion status and in-patient laboratory haemoglobin values (Hb) were recorded. In a prospective series of 32 patients, laboratory markers to identify the cause for anaemia were assessed. Further nutritional status was assessed by records of height, weight, body mass index and a validated scoring system.
In the retrospective series, 15 patients (56%) were anaemic. Ten (37%) were transfused a median of 2 units (range, 2–13), a total of 35 units. Patients who were transfused had lower Hb on admission (P = 0.0019), most were anaemic on admission (90%). At discharge, most patients were anaemic (n = 23; 83%). In the prospective series of 32 patients, 20 (63%) were anaemic. Nutritional assessment was performed on 18, only seven patients were scored undernourished. This was increased to 23 by an independent assessor. Anaemia was associated with malnutrition (n = 17; P = 0.049) and an increased hospital stay (mean 25 days [SD 16] vs mean 12 days [SD 8], P = 0.0125; total 513 vs 144 bed days).
Anaemia and poor nutrition are common and not recognised in vascular patients presenting with critical limb ischaemia. Anaemia is associated with and increased length of hospital stay.
Critical limb ischaemia; Anaemia; Malnutrition
It is widely assumed that, at matched transfusional iron-loading rates, responses to chelation therapy are similar, irrespective of the underlying condition. However, data are limited for rare transfusion-dependent anaemias, and it remains to be elucidated if response differs, depending on whether the anaemia has a primary haemolytic or production mechanism.
The efficacy and safety of deferasirox (Exjade®) in rare transfusion-dependent anaemias were evaluated over 1 yr, with change in serum ferritin as the primary efficacy endpoint. Initial deferasirox doses were 10–30 mg/kg/d, depending on transfusion requirements; 34 patients had production anaemias, and 23 had haemolytic anaemias.
Patients with production anaemias or haemolytic anaemias had comparable transfusional iron-loading rates (0.31 vs. 0.30 mL red blood cells/kg/d), mean deferasirox dosing (19.3 vs. 19.0 mg/kg/d) and baseline median serum ferritin (2926 vs. 2682 ng/mL). Baseline labile plasma iron (LPI) levels correlated significantly with the transfusional iron-loading rates and with serum ferritin levels in both cohorts. Reductions in median serum ferritin levels were initially faster in the production than the haemolytic anaemias, but at 1 yr, similar significant reductions of 940 and 617 ng/mL were attained, respectively (−26.0% overall). Mean LPI decreased significantly in patients with production (P < 0.0001) and haemolytic (P = 0.037) anaemias after the first dose and was maintained at normal mean levels (<0.4 μm) subsequently. The most common drug-related, investigator-assessed adverse events were diarrhoea (n = 16) and nausea (n = 12).
At matched transfusional iron-loading rates, the responses of rare transfusion-dependent anaemias to deferasirox are similar at 1 yr, irrespective of the underlying pathogenic mechanism.
rare anaemias; iron overload; iron chelation therapy; serum ferritin; safety
Various adsorption techniques are available to remove serum autoantibodies and subsequently detect the underlying alloantibody in previously transfused patients with autoimmune haemolytic anaemia. We planned to establish a suitable adsorption technique in our transfusion service which can remove all autoantibodies and detect underlying alloantibodies rapidly, cheaply and effectively.
Study design and methods
We evaluated 71 direct antiglobulin test-reactive patients with warm AIHA over a period of 20 months. Twenty-three of these 71 patients who had a previous history of blood transfusion or pregnancy and were confirmed carriers of autoantibodies (indirect antiglobulin test-reactive) were considered for the adsorption study. Depending on the adequacy of samples, history of blood transfusion and severity of anaemia either autoadsorption or alloadsorption or both using polyethylene glycol (PEG) or low ionic strength saline (LISS)-papain were performed.
Underlying alloantibodies were detected in 7 of the 23 patients (30.4%) and all these were specific to Rhesus antigens. The mean number of alloadsorptions for complete autoantibody removal using PEG was 1.43 which was significantly lower than the 3.9 using the LISS-papain method (p<0.05). The mean time required by PEG alloadsorption and LISS-papain alloadsorption for autoantibody removal was 93.6 minutes and 177.7 minutes, respectively (p<0.05). Discordant results were not observed in any case and identical alloantibodies were detected by both the techniques.
We found that the PEG method is a rapid, cheap and effective way to remove autoantibodies and detect underlying alloantibodies.
AIHA; adsorption; autoantibody; alloantibody
In a group of 35 children with sickle cell anaemia serum ferritin concentration ranged from 70 to 2460 microgram/l (mean 367, median 180 microgram/l). This was significantly higher than the ferritin levels (range 8-101, mean 34, median 30 microgram/l) in a group of 63 normal control children of the same age group. 30 (86%) of the sickle cell children showed serum ferritin levels greater than 101 microgram/l, and 2 (6%) levels greater than 1000 microgram/l. 7 of the patients had not been transfused before this study. Their serum ferritin levels were all raised and showed a significant correlation with age but not with haemoglobin level. In the remainder of the patients the serum ferritin bore no significant correlation with age, haemoglobin level, or number of units of blood transfused. 2 children with HbSC disease had levels within the control range. Since patients with sickle cell anaemia have an increasing chance of long survival, we suggest that serial estimations of their iron status be made by means of serum ferritin assay in order to determine which patients are accumulating excessive iron.
A significant proportion of all red cell transfusions are given to patients undergoing elective orthopaedic surgery. Concern over transfusion safety and cost, coupled with evidence showing that restrictive transfusion policies benefit patients, prompted us to audit our blood prescribing practice at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in order to assess the appropriateness of every transfusion episode following elective primary total hip replacement.
All patients undergoing a primary total hip replacement in our department over a six-month period were included in the study. Data were collected retrospectively using case note examination and transfusion service data. Standards were dictated by the British Orthopaedic Association guidelines on blood conservation in elective orthopaedic surgery.
Twenty-seven per cent of patients (39/143) were transfused. Forty-six per cent of these (18/39) were transfused inappropriately and twenty-three per cent (9/39) appropriately. Thirteen per cent (5/39) had a valid indication for transfusion but were over-transfused and in eighteen per cent (7/39) the quality of documentation did not allow an assessment to be made. Fifty-two per cent of patients who had surgical drains (29/56) were transfused. Reaudit following staff education and amendments to the local transfusion policy did not demonstrate a reduction in transfusion rates.
This audit showed that significant potential exists for reducing transfusion rates based on optimising prescribing practice alone. It also demonstrated that changing local practice based on audit data can be challenging.
Arthroplasty; Hip; Anaemia; Blood transfusion
Erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs) effectively decrease the transfusion requirements of patients with chemotherapy-induced anaemia (CIA). Recent studies indicate that ESAs increase mortality and accelerate tumour progression. The studies also identify a 1.6-fold increased risk of venous thromboembolism. The ESA labelling was thus revised in Europe and the United States in 2008. This is the first randomised, phase III trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of epoetin-β (EPO), an ESA, dosed in accordance with the revised labelling, which specifies that ESAs should be administered to CIA patients with a haemoglobin level of ⩽10 g dl–1 and that a sustained haemoglobin level of >12 g dl–1 should be avoided.
A total of 186 CIA patients (8.0 g dl–1⩽ haemoglobin ⩽10.0 g dl–1) with lung or gynaecological cancer were randomised to receive EPO 36 000 IU or placebo weekly for 12 weeks.
The proportion of patients receiving transfusions or with haemoglobin <8.0 g dl–1 between week 5 and the end of the treatment period as the primary end point was significantly lower in the EPO group (n=89) than in the placebo group (n=92; 10.0% vs 56.4%, P<0.001). The proportion receiving transfusions was significantly lower in the EPO group (4.5% vs 19.6%, P=0.002). Changes in quality of life were not different. No significant differences in adverse events – for example, the incidence of thromboembolic events was 1.1% for each group – or the 1-year overall survival were observed between groups.
Weekly EPO administered according to the revised labelling approved by the European Medicines Agency is effective and well tolerated for CIA treatment. Further investigations are needed on the effect of ESAs on mortality.
chemotherapy-induced anaemia; erythropoietin; survival
BACKGROUND: In 1999, the British Association of Surgical Oncology (BASO) published its guidelines for the management of metastatic bone disease in breast cancer in the UK, highlighting the role of the orthopaedic surgeon as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team. AIM: To establish the workload to our department of metastatic bone disease. METHODS: A prospective study was performed over a 6-month period aiming to study factors affecting length of stay, whether BASO recommendations were being adhered to for metastatic breast disease and whether BASO recommendations could be extended to other forms of metastatic bone disease. RESULTS: 36 patients were referred to the orthopaedic department during the study period. The majority of the patients were referred as emergencies, 83% of patients were seen by an orthopaedic consultant on the day of referral but only 27% were seen by the orthopaedic cancer liaison consultant. Only 16 patients required a therapeutic operative intervention and length of in-patient stay was increased by not having a known primary carcinoma at admission. Patients with bone metastases discussed at the breast cancer multidisciplinary meeting were also studied as were patients with bone metastases presenting to the oncology service. It was found that there was little overlap between these groups and our study group. CONCLUSIONS: Metastatic bone disease does form a workload to the orthopaedic department and BASO recommendations are generally followed for breast disease. The BASO recommendations could be extended to other tumours; however, it should be recognised that there is a significant workload involved and a need for sufficient resources to allow a high quality and timely service.
Intramuscular testosterone 250-500 mg weekly given to 25 patients on long-term haemodialysis produced a significant rise in haemoglobin level in all patients. The response was reversible when the drug was stopped. Treatment was effective in bilaterally nephrectomized patients and those with intact kidney tissue. The use of intramuscular testosterone is recommended for all adult patients on long-term haemodialysis in order to eliminate the need for routine blood transfusions.
Due to the increase of cardiovascular diseases acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) has become one of the most frequently prescribed drugs these days. Despite the rising number of patients with ASA medication presenting for elective general and abdominal surgery and the potentially increased risk of hemorrhage in these patients, there are no clear, evidence-based guidelines for the perioperative use of antiplatelet agents. The present randomised controlled trial was designed to evaluate the safety and optimize the use of ASA in the perioperative management of patients undergoing general and abdominal surgery.
This is a two-arm, monocenter randomised controlled trial. Patients scheduled for elective surgical treatment (i.e. inguinal hernia repair, cholecystectomy and colorectal resections) with ASA as a permanent medication are randomised equally to perioperative continuation or discontinuation of ASA. Patients who are randomised in the discontinuation group stop the administration of ASA five days prior to surgical treatment and start intake of ASA on postoperative day 5. Fifty-two patients will be enrolled in this trial. The primary outcome is the incidence of postoperative bleeding and cardiovascular events at 30 days after surgery. In addition a set of general as well as surgical variables are analysed.
This is a randomised controlled two-group parallel trial designed to assess the safety and optimize the use of ASA in the perioperative management of patients undergoing general and abdominal surgery. The results of this pilot study build the basis for a confirmative randomised controlled trial that may help to clarify the use and potential risk/benefits of perioperative ASA medication in patients undergoing elective surgery.
The trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN45810007.
In 1,584 patients who had received an anaesthetic the association was examined between circulating haemoglobin level and the postoperative course (length of hospital stay, the occurrence of a complication, and death). In men a significant association (P<0·05) was found for each index, but in women this was present only for death.
It is suggested that the hypothesis which best explains the associations, and is consistent with further analyses of the data, is that the preoperative haemoglobin level reflects the severity of the underlying condition which has necessitated surgery. A randomized clinical trial would test the alternative hypothesis that anaemia constitutes an additional risk in surgical procedures.