The use of intraoperative autotransfusion during cranial vault remodeling for craniosynostosis

Anand K. Deva, Richard A. Hopper, Alan Landecker, Roberto Flores, Howard Weiner, Joseph G. McCarthy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Intraoperative autotransfusion salvages blood shed during surgery for use in immediate resuscitation of the patient. The purpose of this study was to determine whether such autotransfusion decreases the volume of homologous blood transfused in patients undergoing primary cranial vault remodeling for craniosynostosis. The Cobe-Bret 2 autologous blood recovery system (Hemo Concepts, Union, N.J.) was used in 11 cases, and an equal number of consecutive cases did not receive intraoperative autotransfusion. There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to age, sex, and weight. Mean estimated blood loss was 43.2 ml/kg (range, 20.3 to 65.0 ml/kg) in the intraoperative autotransfusion group and 40.2 ml/kg (range, 6.8 to 72.3 ml/kg) in the control group (not statistically significant; p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in volume of homologous blood transfusion between the two groups. The autotransfusion group received 34.1 ml/kg of homologous blood (range, 0 to 60.7 ml/kg), and the control group received a mean of 32.7 ml/kg (range, 14.5 to 60.2 ml/kg). The autotransfusion group received a mean of 10.4 ml/kg of recovered autologous blood (range, 0 to 21.4 ml/kg). In four of the 11 autotransfusion patients, insufficient autologous blood was recovered intraoperatively to warrant transfusion. Results of this study suggest little benefit for the use of intraoperative autotransfusion in primary cranial vault remodeling for craniosynostosis in the young patient. It was hypothesized that this finding was a result of the following: (1) intraoperative autotransfusion blood was usually available only toward the end of the procedure, after homologous blood had already been administered, and (2) the volume of recovered intraoperative autotransfusion blood is minimal, compared with the homologous transfusion volume requirements during an extensive cranial vault remodeling and fronto-orbital advancement procedure. In the context of unproven cost benefit and increasing similar evidence from other comparative studies, emphasis should be directed to other medical and surgical strategies to minimize the need for perioperative blood transfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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