A multicenter survey was carried out in 11 Finnish hospitals to determine the prevailing transfusion practices in orthopedic surgery.
The records of 1,161 patients who had undergone primary total hip (THR) or knee replacement (TKR) were reviewed.
Allogeneic red cells (RBC) were administered to 92% of the THR patients and to 84% of the patients undergoing TKR. Significant interhospital variation in RBC transfusion, from 2.4 to 4.1 units per patient in THR and from 1.8 to 2.8 units in TKR, was detected after adjustment for clinical and laboratory findings.
The use of RBCs in orthopedic surgery was generous compared with reports from other European countries and the US. Each hospital's individual transfusion policy seemed to be a strong determinant of allogeneic blood use.