PURPOSE: To compare outcomes of 2 types of perioperative optimisation for patients with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) undergoing various orthopaedic surgeries. METHODS: 12 female and 11 male patients aged 13 to 40 (mean, 18) years with SCA underwent 31 separate orthopaedic procedures for osteonecrosis of the femoral head. They were referred to a haematologist for 2 types of perioperative optimisation, based on the choice of the attending paediatrician. In the aggressive management group, patients received packed red blood cells preoperatively to increase the haemoglobin level to 9 to 11 g/dl and to lower the haemoglobin S level to <30%. Fresh frozen plasma was given when their Factor VII level was <30%. In the conservative management group, patients received packed red blood cells preoperatively to increase the haemoglobin level to a minimum of 10 g/dl. Fresh frozen plasma or packed red blood cells were given intra-operatively only when excessive bleeding occurred. The length of hospital stay, the number of perioperative complications, the number of transfusions, and episodes of alloimmunisation and/or vaso-occlusive crises in the two groups were compared. RESULTS: No patient in the aggressive management group received supplemental oxygen or had an estimated intra-operative blood loss of >400 ml. Three patients in the conservative management group received multiple intra- and post-operative transfusions and supplemental oxygen. CONCLUSION: Both aggressive and conservative protocols may be safely used in SCA patients. The more aggressive protocol resulted in lower rates for postoperative complications, transfusions, and resorting to supplemental oxygen.
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