Anesthesia & Clinical Research

Anesthesia & Clinical Research
Open Access

ISSN: 2155-6148

+44 1223 790975


Accurate Measurement of Intraoperative Blood Loss during Wound Excision Leads to More Appropriate Transfusion and Reduced Blood Utilization

Nicole P Bernal, Jose Muniz Castro, Kimberly Burton and Robert L Thurer

Objective: To determine if accurate measurement of surgical blood loss using a novel device that photographs surgical sponges and calculates their hemoglobin content affects transfusion practice.
Methods: We retrospectively compared transfusion events for patients having wound excisions using visual estimation of blood loss (traditional group; n=178) to similar events following device implementation (study group; n=221).
Results: The study group (age 43 ± 22 years, body surface area burn 11.2 ± 18.0%, excision area 624, IQR 757 cm2, preoperative hemoglobin 10.7 ± 2.4 g/dl) did not differ significantly from the traditional group (age 42 ± 23 years (p=0.527), body surface area burn 12.2 ± 22.6% (p=0.661), excision area 753, IQR 505 cm2 (p=0.485), and preoperative hemoglobin 10.7 ± 2.2 g/dl (p=0.833).
Postoperative transfusion rates were significantly lower in the study group (6.3% vs. 12.9%; p=0.024), as was the proportion of transfused patients undergoing multiple transfusion events (13.0% vs. 34.9%; p=0.01). Red cell dose (units/transfused patient) was less in the study group compared to the traditional group (1.83 ± 1.09 vs. 2.51 ± 1.61 units; p=0.021).
In a subgroup of patients requiring excision of burned areas ≥ 1,000 cm2 (traditional group n=36, study group n=43), these differences were more significant. The postoperative transfusion rate fell from 44.4% to 14.0% (p=0.003), as did the percent of transfused patients experiencing multiple transfusion events (50.0% vs. 14.3%; p=0.004).
Conclusions: Accurate measurement of surgical blood loss was associated with a decrease in transfusions suggesting more timely decision making. Informed transfusion decisions may result in fewer transfusions by avoiding over-transfusion related to both excessive hemodilution and inaccurate visual estimates.