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<jats:p>Total blood loss from primary total knee arthroplasty may exceed 2 L with greater blood loss during revision procedures. Blood loss and allogeneic transfusion are strongly associated with adverse outcomes from surgery including postoperative mortality, thromboembolic events and infection. Strategies to reduce blood loss and transfusion rates improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Interventions are employed preoperatively, intraoperatively and postoperatively. The strongest predictor for allogeneic blood transfusion is preoperative anaemia. Over 35% of patients are anaemic when scheduled for primary and revision knee arthroplasty, defined as haemoglobin &lt;130 g/L for men and women, and the majority of cases are secondary to iron deficiency. Early identification and treatment of anaemia can reduce postoperative transfusions and complications. Anticoagulation must be carefully managed perioperatively to balance the risk of thromboembolic event versus the risk of haemorrhage. Intraoperatively, tranexamic acid reduces blood loss and is recommended for all knee arthroplasty surgery; however, the optimal route, dose or timing of administration remains uncertain. Cell salvage is a valuable adjunct to surgery with significant expected blood loss, such as revision knee arthroplasty. Autologous blood donation is not recommended in routine care, sealants may be beneficial in select cases but further evidence of benefit is required, and the use of a tourniquet remains at the discretion of the surgeon. Postoperatively, restrictive transfusion protocols should be followed with a transfusion threshold haemoglobin of 70 g/L, except in the presence of acute coronary syndrome. Recent studies report no allogeneic transfusions after primary knee arthroplasty surgery after employing blood conservation strategies. The current challenge is to select and integrate different blood conserving interventions to deliver an optimal patient pathway with a multidisciplinary approach.</jats:p>

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of ISAKOS: Joint Disorders & Orthopaedic Sports Medicine



Publication Date





358 - 366