Postoperative re-perfusion of drained blood in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty : Is it effective and cost-efficient ?

Published online: Feb 27 2006

John M. Kirkos, Christos Th. Krystallis, Panayotis A. Konstantinidis, Kyriakos A. Papavasiliou, Margaritis J. Kyrkos, Lazaros G. Ikonomidis

From the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Kilkis General Hospital, Greece


The value of postoperative salvage and re-infusion of drained blood was assessed in 155 patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty for primary knee osteoarthritis. In group A (n = 77), standard vacuum drains were used. In group B (n = 78), an auto-transfusion system was used and the blood drained within 6 hours postoperatively was re-infused. Group B patients were further distributed into 2 subgroups, in one of which methylprednisolone was administered before blood re-perfusion. Patients who received autologous blood had higher levels of haemoglobin at 8 hours (p < 0.05) and 24 hours postoperatively (p < 0.01) and needed less allogeneic blood transfusion (p < 0.01). Methylprednisolone administration was found to attenuate the postoperative febrile reaction (p = 0.01).