Blood loss is a serious concern during lower extremity total joint arthroplasty with the estimated reduction in hemoglobin concentration known to vary between 2 and 4 g/dL after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Allogeneic transfusions are commonly used to treat the acute blood loss and postoperative anemia to diminish the potential cardiovascular risks in up to 50% of such cases with a high volume of blood loss. However, these transfusions are associated with the risks of immunologic reactions, immunosuppression, and infection transmission. Multiple blood-saving strategies have been developed to minimize blood loss, to reduce transfusion rates, to decrease complications, and to improve outcomes in the postoperative period. Currently, there are no clear guidelines on the blood management strategies adopted to lessen the blood loss associated with TKA. The aim of this study was to review the literature and provide a broad summary of the efficacy and complications associated with several blood-saving measures that are currently used in the postoperative period. Evidence suggests that simple techniques such as limb elevation, cryotherapy, compression dressings, and drain clamping may reduce external drainage, however, whether these techniques lead to less allogeneic transfusions is currently debatable. Further research on using a combination of these strategies and their cost-effectiveness are needed. Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine