Timing and incidence of postoperative infections associated with blood transfusion: Analysis of 1,489 orthopedic and cardiac surgery patients

Aryeh Shander, Richard K. Spence, David Adams, Linda Shore-Lesserson, Cynthia A. Walawander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Background: Transfusion rates remain high in cardiac and orthopedic surgery and differ widely across physician practices in spite of growing knowledge that allogeneic blood transfusion (ABT) is associated with a risk of postoperative infection. Methods: This prospective observational study compared the timing and incidence of ABT-associated postoperative infections (PIs) in 1,489 orthopedic or cardiac surgery patients at nine hospitals. Results: Of 455 cardiovascular and 1,034 orthopedic surgery patients, 415 (55.6% of the cardiovascular patients and 15.7% of the orthopedic patients) were given ABT. The overall rate of PI during hospitalization was 5.8%. The relative risk of PI was 3.6-fold greater after ABT (50 patients; 12.1%) than in patients not having ABT (36 patients; 3.4%; 95% confidence interval 2.4, 5.4; p = 0.001). Postoperative infections appeared both during hospitalization (n = 86) and within four weeks after discharge (n = 81). Conclusions: Patients should be followed for as long as four weeks after discharge to determine the true incidence and risk of ABT-associated PI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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