Post-operative unwashed shed blood transfusion does not modify the cellular immune response to surgery for total knee replacement.

Acta Anesthesiol Sca
Munoz M, Cobos A, Campos A, Ariza D, Munoz E, Gomez A
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BACKGROUND: In patients undergoing total knee replacement (TKR), most blood loss occurs post-operatively, and the return of unwashed filtered shed blood (USB) from post-operative drainage may represent an alternative to allogeneic blood transfusion (ABT). We evaluated the impact of USB return on the cellular immune response (CIR) after TKR. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty TKR patients, intended to receive post-operative USB, entered the study. Blood samples were obtained before and 6 h, 24 h, 72 h and 7 days after surgery, and from USB, after it had been passed through a 40-microm filter. Full blood cell counts, lymphocyte subsets and immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, IgM) were measured in all samples. A set of clinical data was collected from each patient. RESULTS: Twenty-four of the 25 patients received a mean of 1.2 USB units and did not need additional ABT (USB group). Twelve of the 15 remaining patients who received neither USB nor ABT served as a control group for the post-operative CIR study. All patients showed a post-operative decrease in T-cell and natural killer (NK) cell counts, but not B-cell counts, and there were no significant differences between the groups with regard to CIR parameters, post-operative infection or hospital stay. CONCLUSIONS: Post-operative salvage and return of USB after TKR does not seem to increase the post-operative infection rate or hospital stay, and does not modify CIR induced by surgery. These findings add to the clinical experience that post-operative USB return, as a source of autologous blood, is safe, and questions the beneficial effect of blood washing.

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