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Volume 5 Supplement 8

18th Spring Meeting of the Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthetists

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A randomized, controlled trial of blood conservation technologies in elective coronary artery bypass surgery


To assess the effectiveness of two mechanical methods of blood conservation in reducing the exposure to transfusion of allogenic red blood cells or any blood products during elective coronary artery bypass (CAB) surgery.


The reduction of allogenic blood transfusion is a national priority. Acute Normovolaemic Haemodilution (ANH) and Intraoperative Cell Salvage (ICS) are two mechanical strategies used to achieve this. A recent meta-analysis of effectiveness of ICS [1] found no trials in cardiac surgery that employed these devices intraoperatively. ANH trials in cardiac surgery have been equivocal as to their benefit [2].


After local ethical approval and informed consent, 252 patients for routine CAB surgery were randomised into either a control group (who received a standard cardiac anaesthetic and operation), or an ICS group (where an ICS device was used during the operation and the residual circuit volume washed), or an ANH group (where 10 ml/kg of blood was extracted post induction and replaced with colloid, in addition to the use of an ICS device used as above). Outcome measures were proportions of patients exposed to allogenic blood or blood products and total units used. Standard transfusion thresholds were employed. Data was analysed using a non-parametric ANOVA.


There were no significant differences between the three groups with respect to age, weight, Parsonnet score, bypass and cross-clamp times. Hospital length of stay, and median and total mediastinal drainage were similar across groups. Outcome measures (exposures, units of blood and P values) are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Outcome measures


In elective CAB surgery, ICS significantly reduces the risk of exposure to allogenic blood and blood products. ANH does not confer any additional benefit.


  1. Huet C, Salmi LR, Fergusson D, Koopman-van Gemert AWMM, Rubens F, Laupacis A: A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of cell salvage to minimize perioperative allogenic blood transfusion in cardiac and orthopedic surgery. Anesth Analg 1999, 89: 861. 10.1097/00000539-199910000-00009

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  2. Bryson GL, Laupacis A, Wells GA: Does acute normovolaemic haemodilution reduce perioperative allogenic transfusion? A meta-analysis. Anesth Analg 1998, 86: 9-15. 10.1097/00000539-199801000-00003

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

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McGill, N., O'Shaughnessy, D., Herbertson, M. et al. A randomized, controlled trial of blood conservation technologies in elective coronary artery bypass surgery. Crit Care 5 (Suppl 8), 7 (2001).

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