Autologous wound drains have no effect on allogeneic blood transfusions in primary total hip and knee replacement: a three-arm randomised trial

B J W Thomassen, P H C den Hollander, H H Kaptijn, R G H H Nelissen, P Pilot
Bone & Joint Journal 2014, 96-B (6): 765-71
We hypothesised there was no clinical value in using an autologous blood transfusion (ABT) drain in either primary total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) in terms of limiting allogeneic blood transfusions when a modern restrictive blood management regime was followed. A total of 575 patients (65.2% men), with a mean age of 68.9 years (36 to 94) were randomised in this three-arm study to no drainage (group A), or to wound drainage with an ABT drain for either six hours (group B) or 24 hours (group C). The primary outcome was the number of patients receiving allogeneic blood transfusion. Secondary outcomes were post-operative haemoglobin (Hb) levels, length of hospital stay and adverse events. This study identified only 41 transfused patients, with no significant difference in distribution between the three groups (p = 0.857). The mean pre-operative haemoglobin (Hb) value in the transfused group was 12.8 g/dL (9.8 to 15.5) versus 14.3 g/dL (10.6 to 18.0) in the non-transfused group (p < 0.001, 95% confidence interval: 1.08 to 1.86). Post-operatively, the median of re-transfused shed blood in patients with a THR was 280 mL (Interquartile range (IQR) 150 to 400) and in TKR patients 500 mL (IQR 350 to 650) (p < 0.001). ABT drains had no effect on the proportion of transfused patients in primary THR and TKR. The secondary outcomes were also comparable between groups.


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