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Ebook Millers textbook (8/E): Part 4

Chapter 63

Patient Blood Management: Autologous
Blood Procurement, Recombinant Factor
VIIa Therapy, and Blood Utilization
LAWRENCE T. GOODNOUGH  •  TERRI G. MONK

Key Points
•The two primary reasons for employing autologous transfusion are avoidance of
complications associated with allogeneic transfusion and conservation of blood
resources.
•The three types of autologous blood transfusion are preoperative autologous
donation (PAD), acute normovolemic hemodilution (ANH), and intraoperative and
postoperative blood recovery (salvage).
•PAD became accepted as a standard practice in certain elective surgical settings
such as total joint replacement surgery, so that by 1992 more than 6% of the
blood transfused in the United States was autologous. Subsequently, substantial
improvements in blood safety were accompanied by a decline in PAD as well as an
interest in ANH as an alternative, lower-cost strategy. The criteria for autologous
donors are different from those for allogeneic donors. Transfusion service policies,
implemented under the auspices of hospital transfusion committees, differ regarding

collection and use of autologous blood with positive viral markers. It is common
practice to exclude autologous blood reactive for hepatitis B surface antigen and
hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency viruses because of patients’ safety
concerns related to wrong blood unit transfused to wrong patient (mistransfusion).
Contraindications to autologous blood donation include evidence of infection and risk
of bacteremia, scheduled surgery for correction of aortic stenosis, and unstable angina.
•The costs associated with PAD are higher than those associated with the collection
of allogeneic blood.
•ANH is the removal of whole blood from a patient while restoring the circulating blood
volume with an acellular fluid shortly before an anticipated significant surgical blood
loss. The chief benefit of ANH is the reduction of red blood cell losses when whole
blood is shed perioperatively at the lower hematocrit levels associated with ANH.
•The term intraoperative blood collection or recovery describes the technique of
collecting and reinfusing blood lost by a patient during surgery. The oxygen
transport properties of recovered red blood cells are equivalent to those of stored
allogeneic red blood cells. The survival of recovered blood cells appears to be at
least comparable to that of transfused allogeneic red blood cells.
•Postoperative blood collection denotes the recovery of blood from surgical drains
followed by reinfusion, with or without processing. Postoperative autologous
blood salvage and reinfusion are practiced widely but not uniformly.
•Recombinant factor VIIa (rfVIIa) has been approved for treatment of bleeding in
patients with hemophilia and inhibitors to factors VIII or IX. Pharmacologic doses of
rfVIIa enhance the thrombin generation on activated platelets and therefore may also
be of benefit in providing hemostasis in other situations such as those characterized by
consumptive coagulopathies or platelet conditions with impaired thrombin generation.
•Level I evidence and guidelines support restrictive transfusion practices. However,
no one hemoglobin level should be used as a transfusion trigger, and transfusion
decisions should be made for individual patients (see also Chapter 61).
•Bloodless medicine and surgery use a multidisciplinary team approach that
incorporates anemia management, controlled hemostasis, autologous blood
procurement, and pharmacologic alternatives to blood transfusion.

1881


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PART IV: Anesthesia Management

Blood management has been defined as “the appropriate


use of blood and blood components, with a goal of
minimizing their use.”1 This goal has been motivated
historically by (1) known blood risks, (2) unknown blood
risks, (3) preservation of the national blood inventory,
and (4) constraints from escalating costs. Known risks of
blood include transmissible infectious disease, transfusion
reactions, and potential effects of immunomodulation
(e.g., postoperative infection or tumor progression).
Unknown risks include emerging pathogens transmissible
by blood (e.g., new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and
West Nile virus).2,3 Several studies have linked allogeneic
blood transfusions with unfavorable outcomes, including
increased risk of mortality and various morbidities.4
Blood management has been 1 of the 10 key advances in
transfusion medicine since the 1960s.5
Patient
blood
management
encompasses
an
evidence-based medical and surgical approach that
is multidisciplinary (transfusion medicine specialists,
surgeons, anesthesiologists, and critical care specialists)
and multiprofessional (physicians, nurses, pump
technologists, and pharmacists).6 Preventive strategies are
emphasized: to identify, evaluate, and manage anemia7-9
(e.g., pharmacologic therapy10 and reduced iatrogenic
blood losses from diagnostic testing)11; to optimize
hemostasis (e.g., pharmacologic therapy12 and point-ofcare testing13); and to establish decision thresholds (e.g.,
guidelines) for the appropriate administration of blood
therapy.14,15
In the United States, The Joint Commission developed
patient blood management performance measures and
submitted these to the National Quality Forum for
endorsement. The National Quality Forum did not
endorse these submitted performance measures because
of a lack of data on the outcomes proposed; as a result,
these measures currently do not carry consequences if not
met. Because these performance measures were process
based rather than outcomes based, data on proposed
outcomes are difficult to retrieve. The Joint Commission
has placed these performance measures in their Topic
Library, where they are to be used as additional patient
safety activities and/or quality improvement projects
by provider institutions as accreditation goals.15
The principles of these performance indicators are
summarized in Box 63-1.

AUTOLOGOUS BLOOD PROCUREMENT
The three types of autologous blood transfusion
are preoperative autologous donation (PAD), acute
normovolemic hemodilution (ANH), and intraoperative
and postoperative blood recovery (blood salvage).
The advantages, disadvantages, applications, and
complications vary with the techniques used.
The two primary reasons for employing autologous
transfusion are avoidance of complications associated with
allogeneic transfusion and conservation of the national
blood inventory. Patients with rare blood phenotypes
or alloantibodies can also benefit from autologous
transfusion because compatible allogeneic blood may
not always be available.16 Potential complications of

BOX 63-1  Patient Blood Management
TJC Performance
Measures
1.Preoperative
Anemia Screening
2.Preoperative Blood
Type and Antibody
Screen (Blood Compatibility Testing)
3.Transfusion Consent
4.Blood Administration
5.RBC Transfusion
Indication
6.Plasma Transfusion
Indication
7.Platelet Transfusion
Indication

Principles
A.Formulate a plan of proactive
management for avoiding and
controlling blood loss tailored
to the clinical management of
individual patients, including
anticipated procedures.  
B.Employ a multidisciplinary treatment approach to blood management using a combination of
interventions (e.g., pharmacologic,
therapy, point-of-care testing).
C.Promptly investigate and treat
anemia.
D.Exercising clinical judgment, be
prepared to modify routine practices (e.g., transfusion triggers)
when appropriate.
E.Restrict blood drawing for
­unnecessary laboratory tests.
F.Decrease or avoid the perioperative use of anticoagulants and
antiplatelet agents.

RBC, Red blood cell; TJC, The Joint Commission.

allogeneic transfusion that can be eliminated or minimized
when autologous blood is administered include acute
and delayed hemolytic reactions, alloimmunization,
allergic and febrile reactions, and transfusion-transmitted
infectious diseases. Intraoperative blood recovery may
be the only option for providing a sufficient volume of
compatible blood when severe, rapid blood loss occurs.
ANH provides the only practical source of fresh whole
blood.
The role of autologous blood procurement in surgery
is evolving, based on improved blood safety, increased
blood costs, and emerging pharmacologic alternatives
to blood transfusion.17-19 PAD became accepted as a
standard practice in certain elective surgical settings
such as total joint replacement surgery; by 1992 more
than 6% of the blood transfused in the United States was
autologous.20 Subsequently, substantial improvements in
blood safety were accompanied by a decline in PAD, as
well as an interest in ANH as an alternative strategy.21
Nevertheless, public perception of blood safety and the
reluctance to accept allogeneic blood transfusion in the
elective transfusion setting,22 along with possible future
blood inventory shortages and the potential for new,
emerging blood pathogens, continue to give autologous
blood procurement strategies an important role in the
surgical arena.

PREOPERATIVE BLOOD DONATION
Patient Selection
The criteria for autologous donors are not as stringent
as are those for allogeneic donors. The AABB (formerly,


Chapter 63: Patient Blood Management

the American Association of Blood Banks) standards for
blood banks and transfusion services require that the
donor patient’s hemoglobin be no less than 11 g/dL or the
hematocrit be no less than 33% before each donation.23
No age or weight limits exist, and patients may donate
10.5 mL/kg, in addition to testing samples. Donations
may be scheduled more than once a week, but the last
donation should occur no less than 72 hours before
surgery, to allow time for restoration of intravascular
volume and for transport and testing of the donated
blood.
Transfusion service policies, implemented under
the auspices of hospital transfusion committees, differ
regarding collection and use of autologous blood with
positive viral markers. Some hospitals exclude use of
autologous blood reactive for hepatitis B surface antigen,
hepatitis C virus, or human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV) because of concerns for patients’ safety related
to a wrong blood unit transfused to the wrong patient
(mistransfusion). Other hospitals accept and transfuse
autologous blood with any positive viral markers because
denying patients infected with HIV the opportunity to
receive their own blood may have implications related to
the Americans with Disabilities Act.24
Candidates for preoperative blood collection are
patients scheduled for elective surgical procedures in
which blood transfusion is likely. The most common
surgical procedures for which autologous blood is
predonated are total joint replacements.25 For procedures
that are unlikely to require transfusion (i.e., a maximal
surgical blood ordering schedule [MSBOS] suggests that
crossmatched blood should not be ordered),26 the use
of preoperative blood collection is not recommended.
Autologous blood should not be collected for procedures
that seldom (<10% of cases) require transfusion, such as
cholecystectomy, herniorrhaphy, vaginal hysterectomy,
and uncomplicated obstetric delivery.27
In special circumstances, preoperative autologous
blood collection can be performed for patients who
would not ordinarily be considered for autologous
donation. Availability of medical support is important
in assessing a patient’s suitability. With appropriate
volume modification, parental cooperation, and attention
to preparation and reassurance, pediatric patients can
participate in preoperative blood collection programs.28
Patients with significant cardiac disease are considered
poor risks for autologous blood donation. Despite reports
of safety in small numbers of such patients who underwent
autologous blood donation,29 the risks associated with
autologous blood donation30 in these patients are greater
than current estimated risks of allogeneic transfusion.2,3
Box 63-2 summarizes the medical contraindications to a
patient’s participation in an autologous blood donation
program.31 The collection of autologous blood from women
during routine pregnancy is unwarranted,32 because blood
is so seldom needed. PAD can be considered for women
with alloantibodies to multiple or high-incidence antigens
or with placenta previa or other conditions placing them
at high risk for antepartum or intrapartum hemorrhage.27
AABB standards no longer permit allogeneic transfusion of
unused autologous units (“crossover”) because autologous
donors are not, in the strictest sense, volunteer donors.23

1883

BOX 63-2  Contraindications to Participation
in Autologous Blood Donation Programs
1.Evidence of infection and risk of bacteremia
2.Scheduled surgery to correct aortic stenosis
3.Unstable angina
4.Active seizure disorder
5.Myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accident within
6 months of donation
6.Significant cardiac or pulmonary disease in patients who have
not yet been cleared for surgery by their treating physician
7.High-grade left main coronary artery disease
8.Cyanotic heart disease
9.Uncontrolled hypertension  

Attempts to stratify patients into groups at high and
low risk for needing transfusion based on the baseline
level of hemoglobin and on the type of procedure
show some promise. In a Canadian study using a point
score system, 80% of patients undergoing orthopedic
procedures were identified to be at low risk (<10%) for
transfusion, and therefore autologous blood procurement
for these patients would not be recommended.33
However, one problem with algorithms that consider
the estimated blood loss and preoperative hematocrit
is that blood losses are difficult to measure34 or predict
because specific surgical procedures performed even by
the same surgeon can be accompanied by a wide range
of blood loss. Although autologous blood donation
programs are popular with patients, the costs associated
with autologous blood collection are higher than are
those associated with allogeneic blood. The reduced risk
of allogeneic blood transfusions has made PAD poorly
cost effective.35,36

The Role of Aggressive Phlebotomy and the
Use of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents
The efficacy of PAD depends on the degree to which
the patient’s compensatory erythropoiesis increases the
production of red blood cells (RBCs).37 The endogenous
erythropoietin response and compensatory erythropoiesis
are suboptimal under “standard” conditions of 1 unit of
blood donated weekly.38 As shown in Table 63-1, weekly
PAD is accompanied by an expansion in RBC volume of
11% (with no oral iron supplementation) to 19% (with oral
iron supplementation), which is not sufficient to prevent
increasing anemia in patients undergoing PAD. If the
erythropoietic response to autologous blood phlebotomy
does not maintain the patient’s hematocrit level during
the donation interval, the donation of autologous blood
actually may be harmful by causing perioperative anemia
and an increased likelihood of any blood transfusion.37,38
A mathematic model has been published to demonstrate
the relationships among anticipated surgical blood losses,
the desired hematocrit, and the need for autologous
blood donation.39
In contrast to autologous blood donation under
“standard” conditions, studies of “aggressive” autologous
blood phlebotomy (twice weekly for 3 weeks, beginning
25 to 35 days before surgery) have demonstrated
that endogenous erythropoietin levels do increase,


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PART IV: Anesthesia Management

TABLE 63-1  ENDOGENOUS ERYTHROPOIETIN-MEDIATED ERYTHROPOIESIS IN AUTOLOGOUS BLOOD DONORS*
RBC (mL )
Standard
phlebotomy

Aggressive
phlebotomy

Net RBC

Patients (n)

Removed (Donated)

Produced

Expansion (%)

Iron Therapy

Reference

108

522

351

19

PO

220
331
315
397

11
17
16
19

None
PO
PO, IV
None

558

473

23

PO

30

522

436

21

IV

24

683

568

26

PO

23

757

440

19

PO

Goodnough et al,
198940
Messmer et al, 198647
Messmer et al, 198647
Messmer et al, 198647
Brecher and
Rosenfeld, 199448
Brecher and
Rosenfeld, 199448
Brecher and
Rosenfeld, 199448
Weiskopf, 199551 and
Petry et al, 199452
Monk et al, 199953

22
45
41
30

590
621
603
540

30

From Goodnough LT, Skikne B, Brugnara C: Erythropoietin, iron, and erythropoiesis, Blood 96:823-833, 2000.
IV, Intravenous; PO, oral; RBC, red blood cell.
*Data are expressed as means.

TABLE 63-2  ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
OF AUTOLOGOUS BLOOD DONATION
Advantages

Disadvantages

Prevents transfusiontransmitted disease
Prevents red cell
alloimmunization
Supplements the blood
supply
Provides compatible blood
for patients
Prevents some adverse
transfusion reactions

Does not affect risk of bacterial
contamination
Does not affect risk of ABO
incompatibility error
Is more costly than allogeneic
blood
Results in wastage of blood not
transfused with alloantibodies
Has an increased incidence of
adverse reactions to autologous
donation
Subjects patient to perioperative
anemia and increased likelihood
of transfusion

Provides reassurance to
patients concerned about
blood risks

along with enhanced erythropoiesis representing RBC
volume expansion of 19% to 26% (see Table 63-1). The
use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents to stimulate
erythropoiesis further (≤50% RBC volume expansion)40-42
during autologous donation has been approved in the
European Union, Canada, and Japan, but not in the United
States.43 Perisurgical erythropoietin therapy is also approved
in the United States and Canada for anemic (hematocrit
< 39%) patients who are scheduled for noncardiac, nonvascular surgical procedures.

Transfusion Trigger
Advantages and disadvantages of autologous blood
transfusion are summarized in Table 63-2. Disagreement
exists about the proper hemoglobin and hematocrit levels
(“transfusion trigger”) at which autologous blood should
be given (see Chapter 61).44 In general, autologous and
allogeneic blood transfusion triggers should be similar
because the risks from administrative errors associated
with both autologous and allogeneic blood are higher

than are risks related to the transfusion of allogeneic
blood.45

ACUTE NORMOVOLEMIC HEMODILUTION
ANH is the removal of whole blood from a patient while
restoring the circulating blood volume with an acellular
fluid shortly before an anticipated significant surgical
blood loss. To minimize the manual labor associated with
hemodilution, the blood should be collected in standard
blood bags containing anticoagulant on a tilt-rocker with
automatic cutoff through volume sensors. The blood is
then stored at room temperature and reinfused during
surgery after major blood loss has ceased, or sooner if
indicated. Simultaneous infusions of crystalloid (3 mL
crystalloid for each 1 mL of blood withdrawn) and colloid
(dextrans, starches, gelatin, albumin [1 mL for each 1 mL
of blood withdrawn]) have been recommended.46 Blood
units are reinfused in the reverse order of collection
because the first unit collected and therefore the last
to be infused will have the highest hematocrit and
concentration of coagulation factors and platelets.

Reduction of Red Blood Cell Losses
The chief benefit of ANH is the reduction of RBC losses when
whole blood is shed perioperatively at lower hematocrit
levels associated with ANH.47 Mathematic modeling
suggests that severe ANH to preoperative hematocrit
levels of less than 20%, accompanied by substantial blood
losses, would be required before the RBC volume “saved”
by ANH would become clinically important.48 A clinical
analysis of patients who had undergone “minimal” ANH
(representing ≤15% of patients’ blood volume) estimated
that only 100 mL of RBCs (the equivalent of 0.5 unit of
blood)49 was “saved” under these conditions.50 With
moderate hemodilution (target hematocrit levels of 28%),
the “savings” become more substantial. The removal of
3 blood units in a patient who subsequently underwent
a blood loss of 2600 mL resulted in surgical RBC losses


Chapter 63: Patient Blood Management

factors is minimal. The hemostatic value of blood collected
by ANH is questionable for orthopedic or urologic surgery
because plasma and platelets are rarely indicated in this
setting. Its value in protecting plasma and platelets from
the acquired coagulopathy of extracorporeal circulation
in cardiac surgery (known as “blood pooling”) is better
established.52

RBC Volume Lost (mL)

1000
800
No. 3

600
No. 2

400
200

Clinical Studies

No. 1

0
400

1885

1200

2000

2800

Blood lost (mL)
Figure 63-1. The relationship between whole blood volume (mL)
lost (abscissa) and red blood cell (RBC) volume lost (ordinate) in a
100-kg patient undergoing hemodilution: RBC volume lost with 2800
mL whole blood lost intraoperatively after hemodilution of 1500 mL
whole blood (solid blue line); RBC volume lost with 2800 mL whole
blood lost during hemodilution at each of three 500 mL volumes (solid
orange line); cumulative RBC volume lost intraoperatively, derived for
2800 mL whole blood lost if hemodilution had not been performed
(blue dashed line). A net of 215 mL reduction in RBC volume lost with
hemodilution is illustrated by the divergence of the two curves. (From
Goodnough LT, Grishaber JE, Monk TG, et al: Acute normovolemic hemodilution in patients undergoing radical suprapubic prostatectomy: a case
study analysis, Anesth Analg 78:932-937, 1994, with permission.)

“saved” by hemodilution of 215 mL, or the equivalent of
1 unit of allogeneic blood (Fig. 63-1).50 This RBC volume
approaches the RBC volume expansion generated by
autologous blood predonation under standard phlebotomy
conditions.
The benefit of ANH has been determined in a mathe­
matic model46. An adult with an estimated 5-L blood
volume and an initial hematocrit of 40%, with surgical
blood losses of up to 3000 mL, would have a hematocrit
level that would remain 25% postoperatively without an
autologous blood intervention. This level is generally considered safe for patients without known risk factors. In
this model, the performance of ANH with initial hematocrit levels of 40% to 45% would allow up to 2500 to 3500
mL of surgical blood loss, yet the nadir level of hematocrit could be maintained at 28%.

Improved Oxygenation
Withdrawal of whole blood and replacement with
crystalloid or colloid solution decrease arterial oxygen
content, but compensatory hemodynamic mechanisms
and the existence of surplus oxygen delivery capacity
make ANH safe. A sudden decrease in RBC concentration
reduces blood viscosity, thereby decreasing peripheral
resistance and increasing cardiac output. If cardiac output
can effectively compensate, oxygen delivery to the tissues
at a hematocrit of 25% to 30% is as good as, but no better
than, oxygen delivery at a hematocrit of 30% to 35%.51

Preservation of Hemostasis
Because blood collected by ANH is stored at room
temperature and is usually returned to the patient within 8
hours of collection, deterioration of platelets or coagulation

Prospective randomized studies in patients undergoing
radical prostatectomy,53 knee replacement,54 and hip
replacement55 suggested that ANH can be considered
equivalent to PAD as a method of autologous blood
procurement. Selected clinical trials of ANH are
summarized in Table 63-3.56-72 Commentaries on the
relative merits of ANH have been published.73-75 When
ANH and reinfusion are accomplished in the operating
room by on-site personnel, the procurement and
administration costs are minimized. Blood obtained
during ANH does not require the commitment of the
patient’s time, transportation, costs, and loss of work time
that can be associated with PAD. The wastage of PAD units
(approximately 50% of units collected)27 also is eliminated
with ANH. Additionally, autologous blood units procured
by ANH require no inventory or testing costs. Because the
blood never leaves the patient’s room, ANH minimizes
the possibility of an administrative or clerical error that
could lead to an ABO-incompatible blood transfusion and
death, as well as bacterial contamination associated with
prolonged storage at 4° C.
An ANH program has some important practical
considerations. Decisions about ANH should be based on
the surgical procedure and on the patient’s preoperative
blood volume and hematocrit, target hemodilution
hematocrit, and other physiologic variables. The
institution’s policy and procedures and the mechanisms
for educating staff should be established and periodically
reviewed.
The patient’s circulating volume and perfusion status
should be carefully monitored during the procedure. Blood
must be collected in an aseptic manner, ordinarily into
standard blood collection bags with citrate anticoagulant.
Units must be properly labeled and stored. The label must
contain, at a minimum, the patient’s full name, medical
record number, date and time of collection, and the
statement “For Autologous Use Only.” Room temperature
storage should not exceed 8 hours. If more time elapses
between collection and transfusion, the blood should be
stored in a monitored refrigerator. Suggested criteria for
patient selection are listed in Box 63-3.

Cost-Effective Analysis of Acute
Normovolemic Hemodilution Versus
Preoperative Autologous Donation
Most clinical trials compared ANH to PAD as the “standard
of care.” Medicolegal concerns may also prevent the
inclusion of a treatment arm consisting of only allogeneic
blood transfusion because blood safety acts in several
states mandate that physicians offer autologous blood
options before elective surgical procedures.18 These
studies found ANH to be similar to PAD in eliminating


1886

PART IV: Anesthesia Management

TABLE 63-3  SELECTED CLINICAL TRIALS OF ACUTE NORMOVOLEMIC HEMODILUTION

Estimated Blood Loss (mL)

Postoperative Hematocrit
(%)

Allogeneic RBC-Containing
Units or Liters ( )
Transfused

Type of Surgery

Control

ANH

P Value

Control

ANH

P Value

Control

ANH

P Value

Reference

Colectomy

NR

NR

NR

37.0

35.0

NR

2.4

0

NR

Spinal fusion

5490

1700

< .005

NR

28.7

NR

8.6

<1

<0.001

Hip arthroplasty

1800

2000

NS

38.4

32.4

NS

(2.1)

(0.9)

NR

Prostate

1246

1106

NS

35.5

31.8

< .001

0.16

0

NS

Liver resection

1479

1284

NS

37.9

33.8

< .01

3.8

(0.4)

<0.001

Prostate

1717

1710

NS

29.5

27.9

< .5

0.30

(0.13)

NS

Vascular

2250

2458

NS

NR

33.0

NR

6.0

2.6

<0.01

890

750

NS

31

32

NS

NR

NR

NR

700

800

NS

29

32

NS

47

28

0.06

500

700

NS

30

29

NS

12

11

NS

Semkiw et al,
198956
Eng et al,
199057
Roberts et al,
199158
Martin et al,
199259
Ward et al,
199360
Umlas et al,
199461
De Haan et al,
199562
Matot et al,
200263
Jarnagin et al,
200864
Fischer et al,
201065

Hepatic
resection
Hepatic
resection
Pancreaticoduodenectomy

Modified from Brecher ME, Rosenfeld M: Mathematical and computer modeling of acute normovolemic hemodilution, Transfusion 34:176-179, 1994.
ANH, Acute normovolemic hemodilution; NR, not reported; NS, not significant; RBC, red blood cell.

BOX 63-3  Criteria for Selection of Patients for
Acute Normovolemic Hemodilution
1.Likelihood of transfusion exceeding 10% (i.e., blood
requested for crossmatch according to a maximum surgical
blood order schedule)
2.Preoperative hemoglobin level of at least 12 g/dL
3.Absence of clinically significant coronary, pulmonary, renal, or
liver disease
4.Absence of severe hypertension
5.Absence of infection and risk of bacteremia  

the need for allogeneic blood transfusions during elective
surgery.76 Other outcomes including anesthesia and
surgery times, intraoperative hemodynamic values, and
length of hospital stays were also equivalent in PAD and
ANH. Even though only a few studies included economic
evaluations comparing the cost of autologous blood
techniques, all these studies demonstrated that ANH
is much less costly than PAD.76 Therefore, ANH can be
considered a cost-minimizing technique for autologous
blood procurement for elective surgery.

INTRAOPERATIVE CELL SALVAGE
The term intraoperative blood collection or recovery or cell
salvage describes the technique of collecting and reinfusing
blood lost by a patient during surgery. The oxygen transport
properties of recovered RBCs are equivalent to those of stored
allogeneic RBCs. The survival of recovered RBCs appears
to be at least comparable to that of transfused allogeneic

RBCs.77 Intraoperative collection is contraindicated when
certain procoagulant materials (e.g., topical collagen) are
applied to the surgical field because systemic activation
of coagulation may result. Microaggregate filters (40 μm)
are most often used because recovered blood may contain
tissue debris, small blood clots, or bone fragments.
Cell washing devices can provide the equivalent of
12 units/hour of banked blood to a massively bleeding
patient.77 Data on adverse events of reinfusion of
recovered blood have been published.78 Air embolus is
a potentially serious problem. Three fatalities from air
embolus were reported over a 5-year interval to the New
York State Department of Public Health, for an overall
fatality risk of 1 in 30,000.35 Hemolysis of recovered
blood can occur during suctioning from the surface
instead of from deep pools of shed blood. For this reason,
manufacturers’ guidelines recommend a maximum
vacuum setting of no more than 150 mm Hg; one study
found that vacuum settings as high as 300 mm Hg could
be used, when necessary, without causing excessive
hemolysis.79 Patients exhibit a level of plasma free
hemoglobin that is usually higher than after allogeneic
transfusion. The clinical importance of free hemoglobin
in the concentrations usually seen has not been
established, although excessive free hemoglobin may
indicate inadequate washing. Positive bacterial cultures
from recovered blood are sometimes observed; however,
clinical infection is rare.80 Most programs use machines
that collect shed blood, wash it, and concentrate the
RBCs. This process typically results in 225-mL units of
saline-suspended RBCs with a hematocrit of 50% to 60%.


Chapter 63: Patient Blood Management

Clinical Studies
As with PAD and ANH, collection and recovery of
intraoperative autologous blood should undergo
scrutiny with regard to both safety and efficacy.81 A
controlled study in cardiothoracic surgery demonstrated
a lack of efficacy when transfusion requirements and
clinical outcomes were followed.80 A second study
found that only a minority of patients undergoing
major orthopedic and cardiac surgery achieved cost
equivalence with intraoperative blood recovery using
semiautomated instruments compared with banked
blood.82 Although the collection of a minimum of one
blood unit equivalent is possible for less expensive
(with unwashed blood) methods, at least two blood
unit equivalents must be recovered using a cell
recovery instrument (with washed blood) to achieve
cost effectiveness.83 The value of intraoperative blood
collection is apparent for vascular surgical procedures
with large blood losses, such as aortic aneurysm repair
and liver transplantation.84 However, a prospective,
randomized trial of intraoperative recovery and
reinfusion in patients undergoing aortic aneurysm
repair showed no benefit in a reduction of allogeneic
blood exposure.83 The value of this technology may be
in cost savings and blood inventory considerations in
patients with substantial blood losses.85
Collection devices that neither concentrate nor wash
shed blood before reinfusion increase the risk of adverse
effects. Shed blood has undergone varying degrees of
coagulation or fibrinolysis and hemolysis, and infusion
of large volumes of washed or unwashed blood has been
described in association with disseminated intravascular
coagulation (DIC).84 In general, blood collected at low
flow rates or during slow bleeding from patients who
are not systemically anticoagulated will have undergone
coagulation and fibrinolysis and will not contribute to
hemostasis on reinfusion. The high suction pressure and
surface skimming during aspiration and the turbulence
or mechanical compression that occurs in roller pumps
and plastic tubing make some degree of hemolysis
inevitable. High concentrations of free hemoglobin may
be nephrotoxic to patients with impaired renal function.
Many programs limit the quantity of recovered blood
that may be reinfused without processing. To minimize
hemolysis, the vacuum level should ordinarily not
exceed 150 mm Hg, although higher levels of suction
may occasionally be needed during periods of rapid
bleeding.
An alternative approach is to collect blood in a
canister system designed for direct reinfusion and
then to concentrate and wash the recovered RBCs in a
blood bank cell washer. Intraoperatively collected and
recovered blood must be handled in the transfusion
service laboratory similarly to any other autologous unit.
The unit should be reinfused through a filter.
Some practical considerations for cell recovery programs
are listed in Box 63-4. If collected under aseptic conditions
with a saline-wash device and if properly labeled, blood
may be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours or at
1° C to 6° C for up to 24 hours, provided storage at 1° C to
6° C is begun within 4 hours of ending the collection.23
The allowable interval of room temperature storage is

1887

BOX 63-4  Practical Considerations for
Intraoperative Cell Recovery, Storage, and
Reinfusion
1.If not transfused immediately, units collected from a sterile
operating field and processed with a device for intraoperative
blood collection that washes with 0.9% saline, USP, shall be
stored under one of the following conditions before initiation
of transfusion:
a.At room temperature for up to 4 hours after terminating
collection
b.At 1° C to 6° C for up to 24 hours, provided storage at
1° C to 6° C is begun within 4 hours of ending the collection
2.Transfusion of blood collected intraoperatively by other
means shall begin within 6 hours of initiating the collection.
3.Each unit collected intraoperatively shall be labeled with the
patient’s first name, last name, and hospital identification
number; the date and time of initiation of collection and of
expiration; and the statement “For Autologous Use Only.”
4.If stored in the blood bank, the unit shall be handled like any
other autologous unit.
5.The transfusion of shed blood collected under postoperative
or posttraumatic conditions shall begin within 6 hours of
initiating the collection.  

shorter for recovered blood (4 hours) than for ANH blood
(8 hours). Storage times are the same for recovered blood
whether unwashed or washed.

POSTOPERATIVE CELL SALVAGE
Postoperative blood collection denotes the recovery of
blood from surgical drains followed by reinfusion, with
or without processing.62 In some programs, postoperative
shed blood is collected into sterile canisters and reinfused,
without processing, through a microaggregate filter.
Recovered blood is dilute, is partially hemolyzed and
defibrinated, and may contain high concentrations of
cytokines. For these reasons, most programs set an upper
limit on the volume (e.g., 1400 mL) of unprocessed blood
that can be reinfused. If transfusion of blood has not
begun within 6 hours of initiating the collection, the
blood must be discarded.

Clinical Studies
The evolution of cardiac surgery has been accompanied by
broad experience in postoperative conservation of blood.
Postoperative autologous blood transfusion is practiced
widely but not uniformly. Prospective and controlled
trials have disagreed over the efficacy of postoperative
blood recovery in cardiac surgical patients; at least three
such studies demonstrated lack of efficacy,58,60 whereas at
least two studies showed benefit.57 The disparity of results
in these studies may be explained, in part, by differences
in transfusion practices. Modification of physicians’
transfusion practices may have been an uncredited
intervention in these blood conservation studies.
In the postoperative orthopedic surgical setting,
several reports have similarly described the successful
recovery and reinfusion of washed56 and unwashed59
wound drainage blood from patients undergoing
arthroplasty. The volume of reinfused drainage blood


1888

PART IV: Anesthesia Management

has been reported to be as great as 3000 mL and
averages more than 1100 mL in patients undergoing
cementless knee replacement.59 Because the RBC
content of the fluid collected is low (hematocrit levels
of 20%) the volume of RBCs reinfused is often small.61 A
prospective, randomized study of postoperative salvage
and reinfusion in patients undergoing total knee or
hip replacement found no differences in perioperative
hemoglobin levels or allogeneic blood transfusions
between patients who had joint drainage devices and
those who did not.86
The safety of reinfused unwashed orthopedic wound
drainage has been controversial. Theoretic concerns
have been expressed regarding infusion of potentially
harmful materials in recovered blood, including free
hemoglobin, RBC stroma, marrow fat, toxic irritants,
tissue or methacrylate debris, fibrin degradation products,
activated coagulation factors, and complement. Although
two small studies reported complications,87,88 several
larger studies reported no serious adverse effects when
the drainage was passed through a standard 40-μm blood
filter.56,59,89
The potential for decreasing exposure to allogeneic
blood
among
orthopedic
patients
undergoing
postoperative blood collection, whether the blood is
washed or unwashed, is greatest for cementless bilateral
total knee replacement, revision hip or knee replacement,
and long-segment spinal fusion. As in the case of
intraoperative recovery, blood loss must be sufficient to
warrant the additional cost of processing technology.90
One study demonstrated comparable costs between
postoperative cell salvage and allogeneic transfusion
for patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty, but
the investigators found that cell salvage represented
a significant savings in patients undergoing total hip
arthroplasty.91 As in the selection of patients who can
benefit from PAD and ANH, the prospective identification
of patients who can benefit from intraoperative and
postoperative autologous blood recovery is possible if
patients’ preoperative hemoglobin level, anticipated
surgical blood loss, and perioperative “transfusion
trigger” are taken into account.

RECOMBINANT FACTOR VIIa
Recombinant factor VIIa (rfVIIa) has been approved
for treatment of bleeding in patients with hemophilia
who have inhibitors, patients with congenital factor
VII deficiency, and patients with inherited qualitative
platelet defects. Pharmacologic doses of rfVIIa enhance
the thrombin generation on platelets and therefore
may also likely be of benefit in providing hemostasis in
clinical settings characterized by profuse bleeding and
impaired thrombin generation,92 such as in patients with
thrombocytopenia and in those with functional platelet
defects.93,94 Additionally, it has been used successfully
in a variety of less well-characterized surgical bleeding
situations in patients with dilutional or consumptive
coagulopathies and in patients with impaired liver
function.95-97 Policies for the approval of rfVIIa therapy
in nonapproved settings should therefore undergo

periodic review and revision as relevant new information
and data are generated.98 Because of the trends in rfVIIa
usage in nonapproved settings, significant concerns
about the safety, efficacy, and costs of rfVIIa have arisen.
Additionally, dosing of rfVIIa for these potentially broad
clinical applications is not standardized.

COMPLEX SURGERY AND TRAUMA
RESULTING IN PROFUSE BLEEDING
A hemostatic effect has been demonstrated after the
administration of rfVIIa in a limited number of patients
after trauma and bleeding (see also Chapters 61 and 62).95,96
Seven trauma patients treated with rfVIIa after failure of
conventional measures to achieve hemostasis reported
cessation of diffuse bleeding and correction of abnormal
coagulation assays; three of the seven patients died of
reasons other than bleeding or thromboembolism.96
Anecdotal case reports have been published that
describe the successful use of rfVIIa in patients with
substantial perisurgical bleeding. The experience of rfVIIa
use in trauma with excessive bleeding, as well as in profuse
postoperative bleeding, based largely on case reports,
has indicated a hemostatic effect of rfVIIa given in doses
ranging from 20 to 120 μg/kg. The issue of preemptive,
preoperative rfVIIa (40 to 90 μg/kg) was studied in nine
patients with coagulopathy and urgent neurosurgical
intervention.99 Post-rfVIIa coagulation parameters
normalized as early as 20 minutes after infusion, with
no noted procedural or operative complications.
No associated thromboembolic complications were
observed. Subsequently, a prospective, randomized study
of rfVIIa (20 or 40 μg/kg) versus placebo perioperatively in
36 patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy
found that the cohorts receiving rfVIIa had substantially
less median operative blood loss compared with placebo
(1235 mL, 1089 mL, and 2688 mL, respectively).100 This
study was not powered to demonstrate reductions in
blood transfusions.
In single-center series, 51 patients undergoing rfVIIa
therapy for intractable blood loss after cardiac surgery
were compared with 51 matched controls.101 The
investigators found that bleeding 1 hour after therapy
was reduced in the treated cohort, compared with
the control cohort. No differences in serious adverse
events were noted. A subsequent review from the same
institution of 114 cardiac surgical patients who received
rfVIIa compared with 541 concurrent patients who did
not receive rfVIIa concluded that rfVIIa is not associated
with increased risk of adverse events, and early
treatment may be associated with better outcomes.102
A second series of rfVIIa in 53 patients during cardiac
surgery found a significant decrease in doses of all
blood products.103 However, a third series of 24 patients
treated with rfVIIa for refractory bleeding after cardiac
surgery, compared with 24 matched controls, found no
differences in RBC or plasma units transfused over a
24-hour period.104
A pilot study of 20 patients undergoing complex
noncoronary cardiac surgery who were randomized to
receive either placebo or rfVIIa (90 μg/kg) prophylactically
after completion of cardiopulmonary bypass and


Chapter 63: Patient Blood Management

reversal of heparin found a significantly reduced need
for allogeneic transfusion in the cohort who received
rfVIIa.105 However, a pediatric study of 76 pediatric
patients undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease
found no benefit of rfVIIa (40 μg/kg) prophylaxis as
determined by chest closure time after cardiopulmonary
bypass106 (see also Chapter 94).
Two randomized placebo-controlled trials of rfVIIa
as adjunctive therapy for control of bleeding in trauma
patients were published.107 In an analysis of 143 patients
with blunt trauma, the percentage of patients alive at
48 hours after receiving more than 20 units of RBCs was
reduced from 33% to 14% (P = .03). For 143 patients with
penetrating trauma, the reduction from 19% to 7% was
not significant (P = .08). No differences in serious adverse
events between the rfVIIa-treated and placebo cohorts
were observed (see also Chapters 62 and 81).

DOSE
A retrospective review of 40 patients with coagulopathic
bleeding in a variety of medical and surgical settings
from 13 hospitals in an Internet-based database (excluding history of coagulopathy and trauma patients) who
received rfVIIa (15 to 180 μg/kg, with 38 patients receiving fewer than 5 doses) found that 32 patients (80%)
achieved complete (n = 18) or partial (n = 14) cessation of
bleeding.108 Responses occurred in all dose ranges, without any evidence of a dose-response effect; the percentages of complete, partial, or absent responses were not
different at doses of less than 70 μg/kg, 70 to 90 μg/kg, or
more than 90 μg/kg. Significantly fewer blood products
were administered after rfVIIa therapy. Twenty-three
(58%) patients died, thus reflecting the unstable clinical
status of the patients at the decision point for considering rfVIIa therapy. On the basis of this study, one recommended dosage strategy is for a 4.8-mg vial administered
to an adult patient weighing 50 to 100 kg, which represents a 100 to 50 μg/kg dose.98

PATIENTS RECEIVING ORAL
ANTICOAGULANT THERAPY
One report described the use of rfVIIa in seven adult
patients with a prolonged international normalized ratio
(INR); three of these patients required surgery. The doses
administered ranged from 20 to 90 μg/kg, and all patients
were reported to have a positive outcome.109 These observations indicate that rfVIIa may be used to reverse the
effect of warfarin (Coumadin) or other vitamin K–antagonist therapy when the administration of vitamin K alone
has been found to be insufficient. Two published reports
of a total of 15 patients treated with rfVIIa for reversal
of excessive anticoagulation with warfarin supported a
dosage of 20 μg/kg, or 1.2 mg for an adult patient.110,111
A review of 12 patients with acute warfarin-associated
intracranial hemorrhage over this same time period at
one institution (all these patients received rfVIIa [30 to
135 μg/kg] as well as vitamin K [10 mg/day for 3 days]
and fresh frozen plasma [1307 ± 652 mL] for treatment)
found that treatment was associated with rapid correction
of the INR, and single doses appeared safe in this high-risk

1889

population.112 However, more recent guidelines from several medical societies have discouraged the off-label use of
rfVIIa in this setting12 (see also Chapter 62).

PATIENTS WITH IMPAIRED
LIVER FUNCTION
A multicenter trial studied 71 patients with advanced
liver disease who were undergoing laparoscopic liver
biopsy.115 The patients were randomized to receive 1 of
4 doses of rfVIIa (5, 20, 80, or 120 μg/kg); 48 (74%) of
65 patients achieved hemostasis within 10 minutes. One
thrombotic event and a single case of DIC were reported,
and they were not believed to be related to rfVIIa therapy.
Despite these complications, the authors concluded
that laparoscopic liver biopsy can be performed safely
and reliably by using rfVIIa in patients in whom the
standard procedure may be contraindicated because of
coagulopathy.
The safety and efficacy of rfVIIa in patients with
cirrhosis and upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage were
studied in a randomized study of 245 patients with a
composite primary end point including failure to control
bleeding within 24 hours after first dose, failure to prevent
rebleeding within 24 hours to 5 days, or death within 5
days.116 No significant differences were found between
the placebo compared with the rfVIIa (8 doses at 100
mg/kg over 30 hours) cohorts: failures on composite end
point were 16% and 14%, respectively (P = .72). Similarly,
a randomized controlled study of patients with cirrhosis
who underwent partial hepatectomy found no benefit to
rfVIIa compared with placebo when the volume of blood
products administered, or the percentage of patients
transfused, was analyzed.115 Finally, no value for periadjuvant rfVIIa was found in patients undergoing liver
transplantation, when compared with placebo114 (see
also Chapter 62).

PATIENTS WITH NORMAL HEPATIC
FUNCTION
A prospective, randomized, double-blind multicenter
study evaluated the efficacy of two different doses of
rfVIIa compared with placebo on RBC transfusions for
adult patients without cirrhosis who were undergoing
partial hepatectomy.117 Mean RBC volume transfused was
1024, 1354, and 1036 mL for placebo, 20 μg/kg rfVIIa, and
80 μg/kg rfVIIa, respectively (P > .05). Similarly, no differences were noted in the percentage of patients transfused
and in intraoperative blood losses. Serious adverse event
rates were not different.

PATIENTS WITH HEMORRHAGIC STROKE
A prospective, randomized, double-blind placebo-­
controlled trial of three doses of rfVIIa compared with
placebo was reported in patients presenting with acute
(<4 hours) hemorrhagic stroke.118 At 24 hours after
treatment, the percentage of patients showing expansion was 28%, 16%, 14%, and 11% for the placebo, 40
μg/kg, 80 μg/kg, and 160 μg/kg, respectively (P < .05
treatment cohorts versus placebo). The percentage


1890

PART IV: Anesthesia Management

of patients who died was 29%, 18%, 18%, and 19%,
respectively (P < .05, treatment cohorts versus placebo).
Impairment scored at 90 days was also improved in the
treatment cohorts compared with placebo. However, a
follow-up, clinical trial (placebo, 40 μg/kg, and 80 μg/
kg) failed to show a mortality benefit for rfVIIa compared with placebo.119

SAFETY
Of the more than 170,000 standard doses of rfVIIa given
after its approval (almost all to patients with hemophilia
and inhibitors), only rare (<1 in 11,300) thrombotic
events have been reported.92 Thrombotic complications
have also been reported with rfVIIa therapy in patients
without inhibitors to factor VIII or IX. An acute
cerebrovascular accident and death occurred in a clinical
trial of rfVIIa (90 μg/kg) before and after minor surgery or
dental procedures in patients with factor XII deficiency.120
The last of 10 patients enrolled in an open-label, doseescalation trial to prevent rebleeding after subarachnoid
hemorrhage developed middle cerebral artery thrombosis
after receiving rfVIIa.121 In a high-risk trauma population,
3 of 40 (7.5%) patients who were deemed at high risk for
thrombosis developed thrombotic complications after
receiving rfVIIa.122
Although significant adverse events and thrombotic
events were distributed evenly among treatment and
placebo cohorts in several large randomized clinical
trials of patients undergoing radical prostatectomy,100
trauma,109 upper gastrointestinal bleeding,114 or
partial hepatectomy,120 an uneven distribution of
thromboembolic events was found in the clinical trial of
patients with hemorrhagic stroke.120 Total events in this
last trial were 2 (2%), 7 (6%), 4 (5%), and 10 (10%) for the
placebo, 40, 80, and 160 μg/kg cohorts, respectively. Most
of these events were arterial, including thrombotic stroke
and myocardial infarction. Whether these serious adverse
events can be attributed to rfVIIa or to a population at risk
for these events will need to be determined in a follow-up
clinical trial.
A summary of thromboembolic events reported to the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from March
1999 to December 2004 indicated a total of 151 events
in settings with unlabeled indications for rfVIIa.123 These
events included deep vein thrombosis (42), cerebrovascular
accident (39), acute myocardial infarction (34), pulmonary
thromboembolus (32), arterial thrombosis (26), and
clotted devices (10). Thirty-eight percent of cases had
concomitant use of other hemostatic agents. In 36 (72%) of
50 reported deaths, rfVIIa was listed as the probable cause.
The authors concluded that randomized clinical trials are
necessary to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of rfVIIa
in nonapproved settings. A subsequent report analyzed
safety data from 13 clinical trials in patients treated with
rfVIIa for cirrhosis, trauma, or reversal of anticoagulant
therapy.124 The authors reported thrombotic adverse
events in 5.3% of patients who received placebo, compared
with 6.0% in patients who received rfVIIa (P = .57).
In cardiac surgical patients, cohort-matched studies100,101 and a systematic review found no differences in
serious adverse events in patients treated with rfVIIa125

(see also Chapter 62). We reported a patient who had
fatal thrombosis after administration of activated prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) and who had also
received two doses of rfVIIa more than 6 hours earlier,
while supported by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.126 Because of this experience, we recommend that
patients should not receive combination therapy with
both activated PCC and rfVIIa.
In summary, the safety profile of rfVIIa in controlled
trials in patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage
suggests that an increased risk of thrombotic arterial
events may be underreported by treating physicians.127
Thromboembolic events associated with rfVIIa were
reported to the FDA in approximately 2% of treated patients
in clinical trials, but sufficient data were not available to
identify the incidence in patients who received rfVIIa for
warfarin reversal.123 A careful case review of 285 trauma
patients revealed that 27 (9.4%) had thromboembolic
complications after administration of rfVIIa, including
3 patients who were treated for warfarin reversal.128 Levi
and colleagues analyzed 35 randomized trials with 4468
subjects and found that 11.1% had thromboembolic
events. Rates of venous thromboembolic events were
similar for subjects who received rfVIIa compared with
placebo (5.3% and 5.7%, respectively); arterial events,
however, were significantly higher (5.5% versus 3.2%,
P < .003) in subjects receiving rfVIIa compared with placebo, particularly for older patients (>75 years of age)
and/or higher doses.129
Dose, timing, and safety of rfVIIa have yet to be defined
in this diverse patient population, and formal prospective
trials are needed. Consensus-based recommendations
on the use of rfVIIa in nonapproved settings have been
developed.130 The decisions on when and where to use
rfVIIa for patients with uncontrolled bleeding must be
made by individual physicians, assisted by their hospital
pharmacotherapeutic or transfusion committees.98,131

BLOOD UTILIZATION
Of the estimated 39 million discharges in the United States
in 2004, 5.8% (2.3 million) were associated with blood
transfusion.132 Blood transfusion occurred in more than
10% of all hospital stays that included a procedure and
was the most frequently performed procedure in 2009.
The rate of blood transfusion more than doubled from
1997 to 2009.133 Increased provider awareness of the costs
associated with blood transfusion134 and recognition
of the potential negative outcomes have stimulated
multidisciplinary, multiprofessional, and institutionbased approaches to patient blood management (see also
Chapter 61).
Guidelines for blood transfusion attest to the
inadequacy of discrete hemoglobin levels as “triggers”
for transfusion, and in addition to recommending
transfusion of one blood unit each treatment event, they
also acknowledge the necessity of considering other more
physiologic criteria.14 It is generally agreed that transfusion
is not of benefit when hemoglobin levels are greater
than 10 g/dL and is beneficial when hemoglobin levels
are lower than 6 g/dL.15,135 The variability in transfusion


Chapter 63: Patient Blood Management

outcomes in patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery
continues to persist even after adjusting for patient- and
institution-related factors.136,137 Moreover, prospective
randomized trials in patients undergoing cardiac138 and
noncardiac139,140 surgery demonstrated that such patients
can tolerate perioperative anemia without transfusion
to hemoglobin levels between 7 and 8 g/dL, and these
patients have equivalent clinical outcomes comparable to
transfusions to hemoglobin levels greater than 10 g/dL.
The FOCUS trial found that older (mean > 80 years of age)
high-risk (factors for coronary artery disease) patients who
underwent hip fracture surgery tolerated a hemoglobin
trigger as low as 8 g/dL (or higher if symptomatic).140
A Cochrane meta-analysis of prospective randomized
trials comparing “high” and “low” hemoglobin
thresholds in more than 3700 patients found that (1)
“low” hemoglobin thresholds were well tolerated, (2)
RBC transfusions were reduced (≈37%) significantly in
patients randomized to the “low” hemoglobin cohorts,
(3) infections were reduced by 34% in patients in the
“low” hemoglobin cohorts, and (4) a hemoglobin of 7
g/dL was sufficient for most patients.141 More recently,
a randomized controlled trial of 2016 older patients
with history or risk factors of cardiovascular disease who
underwent hip surgery demonstrated that mortality rates,
inability to walk independently, and in-hospital morbidity
rates were similar in patients transfused according to liberal
criteria and in patients transfused according to restrictive
guidelines despite significantly fewer transfusions in the
restrictive group.140 On the basis of this study, the AABB
guidelines recommend the use of a restrictive transfusion
approach (hemoglobin 7 to 8 g/dL) in stable patients who
do not have cardiovascular risk factors.142
Data from the most recent National Blood Collection and
Utilization Survey show a progressive annual decrease in
the number of patients and the percentage of hospitals who
have canceled elective surgical procedures because of blood
inventory constraint.143 Current initiatives in research for
blood transfusions are reflected in the growing literature
on adverse effects of blood storage and their possible
implications for oxygen delivery by blood transfusion.144

INDICATIONS FOR PLASMA TRANSFUSION
In an evidence-based review, the Transfusion Practices
Committee of the AABB recommended plasma therapy
for only a few clinical indications, based on the available
evidence in the literature (which was assessed to be of
“weak quality”145): trauma patients with substantial
hemorrhage, patients undergoing complex cardiovascular surgery, and patients with intracranial hemorrhage
requiring emergency reversal of warfarin-associated
coagulopathy146 (see also Chapter 62). Patients with
mild prolongations of the INR (< 1.7) are not at risk of
bleeding and do not need plasma therapy for minor procedures.147 Therefore, for most clinical settings, ample
evidence indicates that plasma transfusions are inappropriate. However, logistic or technical barriers that prevent
effective and timely plasma therapy (possibly resulting
in plasma therapies that are “too little, too late”) have
probably contributed to the paucity of evidence demonstrating any benefit for plasma therapy.12

1891

Lack of enthusiasm and logistic or technical barriers in
this and other settings have led to approaches for plasma
therapy that are perhaps too little, too late. First, transfusion services must identify the patient’s blood group
type before issuing blood type–compatible plasma; for
patients unknown to the institution and/or without a historic blood type in the patient record within the past year,
considerable time (up to 60 minutes) can elapse from presentation until a blood type can be ordered, drawn, and
determined by the transfusion service. Second, because
plasma is stored frozen at −18° C, further time (30 to 45
minutes) may be required to thaw and issue plasma. Third,
the volume for each plasma unit infused (≈200 to 250 mL)
represents a challenge regarding volume overload, which
occurs commonly in an older population who may have
preexisting comorbidities such as atrial fibrillation or
other cardiovascular disease. The dosing of plasma needed
to correct the coagulopathy has often been underestimated
and therefore may be subtherapeutic in some clinical practices; plasma therapy of 15 to 30 mL/kg is necessary to restore
hemostatic clotting factor levels to 30% to 50% of normal
in acute reversal of warfarin toxicity.12
In the coagulopathy of liver disease, plasma therapy
may not represent appropriate management.148 In liver
disease, the extent of coagulopathy as measured by the
prothrombin time or INR is not predictive of bleeding
complications.149-151 Thrombin-generation assays,152,153
which measure platelet procoagulant activity, have found
that patients with cirrhosis have primary hemostasis
through cell-mediated pathways that are not measured
by traditional laboratory assays such as prothrombin
time and partial thromboplastin time. Increasing evidence indicates that these patients can undergo major
hemostatic challenges such as liver biopsies and surgical
procedures without plasma therapy and without bleeding
complications.154 Moreover, normalization of laboratory
tests in this setting is rarely achieved by plasma therapy.155
The most clinically relevant bleeding problems are a consequence of local vascular abnormalities and increased
venous pressures.151,156 Thus, a more conservative plasma
therapy approach would be to avoid volume and fluid
overload that paradoxically favors hemorrhage, such as
portal hypertension and endothelial damage.157 Alternative therapies to plasma infusion have been proposed to
improve hemostasis in patients with liver disease, including the infusion of low-volume PCCs or antifibrinolytic
agents, which lack the side effects of volume overload.148
One of the largest prospective studies of plasma transfusions and their effect on INR and bleeding included
both medical and surgical patients with pretransfusion
INR of between 1.1 and 1.85.158 The authors reported
that less than 1% of patients had normalization of their
INR and only 15% had at least 50% correction. The
median dose of plasma was 2 units (only 5 to 7 mL/
kg), and no correlation was found between plasma dose
and change in INR. This study had many of the limitations common to other reports154 in this clinical arena:
lack of control groups, only modest prolongation in
coagulation tests, poorly defined clinical end points (e.g.,
change in hemoglobin or need for transfusion), and/or
an inadequate dose of plasma therapy. Point-of-care testing, coupled with algorithms for targeted plasma therapy


1892

PART IV: Anesthesia Management

TABLE 63-4  CURRENTLY APPROVED PROTHROMBIN COMPLEX CONCENTRATE PRODUCTS
Factor Levels (International Units/mL)*
Product (Manufacturer)
I. Available in the USA:
  A. Four factor
   KCentra (CSL Behring)
  B. PCCs, three factor (II, IX, X)
   1. Profilnine SD (Grifols)‡
   2. Bebulin VH (Baxter, Deerfield, Ill.)‡
II. Available outside the USA:
  A. PCCs, four factor (II, VII, IX, X)
   1. Beriplex (CSL Behring, King of Prussia, Pa.)§
   2. Octaplex (Octapharma, Lachen,
Switzerland)‖
   3. Cofact (Sanquin, Amsterdam)¶
   4. Prothromplex T (Baxter)#
   5. Proplex T (Baxter)**
  B. PCCs, three factor (II,IX,X)
   1. Prothromplex HT (Baxter)††
   2. Prothrombinex VF†† (CSL Bioplasma,
Broadmeadows, Australia)
III. Activated PCC
  FEIBA (Baxter)‡‡

II

VII

IX

X

17-40

10-25

20-31

25-51

≤150
24-38

≤35
<5

≤100
24-38

≤100
24-38

20-48
14-38

10-25
9-24

20-31
25

22-60
18-30

14-35
30
20

7-20
25
20

25
30
20

14-35
30
20

30
100




30
100

130
100

32 ± 8

38 ± 5

35 ± 2.5

28 ± 5

Modified from Goodnough LT, Shander AS: How I treat warfarin-associated coagulopathy in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, Blood 117:6091-6099,
2011.
PCC, Prothrombin complex concentrate.
*The values given for factor contents are the number of units (International Units/mL) present per 100 factor IX units in each vial.
‡Product insert specifies: “Indicated for replacement of factor IX in patient with hemophilia B. Not indicated for treatment of factor VII deficiency.”
§United Kingdon and European Union.
‖United Kingdom, Canada, and European Union.
¶European Union.
#Austria.
**Japan.
††Australia.
‡‡Factor VIII inhibitor bypass activity calculated for 25 U/mL vial. NB product insert specifies FEIBA is contraindicated for treatment of bleeding episodes
resulting from coagulation factor deficiencies in the absence of inhibitors to factors VIII or IX.

in settings such as cardiothoracic surgery, liver transplantation, and trauma surgery, shows promise in improving
blood utilization and patient outcomes159 (see also Chapter 61).
The paucity of evidence for benefit of plasma
transfusion therapy is accompanied by growing evidence
that risks of plasma have been underrecognized. In a
prospective study, 6% of transfused patients developed
transfusion-associated excessive cardiac volume,160 a
percentage that is much higher than previously reported
rates in retrospective studies.161,162 Transfusion-related
acute lung injury is a significant cause of morbidity and
mortality from blood transfusions.163 The incidence of
this complication has declined with use of plasma from
male donors or from female donors who have no history
of pregnancy.164

PROTHROMBIN COMPLEX CONCENTRATES
PCCs are either activated (i.e., to allow for bypassing
inhibitors to factor VIII or factor IX in the treatment of
patients with hemophilia A or B) or nonactivated. The
nonactivated PCC products currently available worldwide are listed in Table 63-4,12 and they are further categorized based on the presence (four factor) or absence
(three factor) of sufficient levels of factor VII.165 PCCs

that contain all four (including factor VII) of the vitamin K–dependent clotting factors are approved in the
European Union,166 as well as in various other countries
such as Canada and Australia, and are now approved
in the United States for emergency reversal of warfarin
coagulopathy in patients with major bleeding167,168 and
also for perioperative management of patients receiving
warfarin therapy.169 Three-factor PCCs are approved in
the United States only for the replacement of factor IX.
Use of these three-factor PCCs for reversal of warfarin
is controversial; although these agents can be demonstrated to normalize INR,170 one report showed a suboptimal effect in correcting INR because of minimal
increments in levels of factor VII.165 A review of the role
of PCCs and other options for reversing warfarin-associated coagulopathy has been published.12
Guidelines for acute reversal of warfarin coagulopathy have been published by several medical societies
(Table 63-5).171-177 One review of emergency reversal of
anticoagulation therapy in neurosurgical patients recommended the concomitant administration of a threefactor concentrate (4000 International Units) and rfVIIa
(1.0 mg) for patients treated at one trauma center in the
United States.178 Another review of PCCs for reversal
of warfarin concluded that “PCC should be compared
directly in randomized controlled trials [with] other


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Chapter 63: Patient Blood Management
TABLE 63-5  P
 UBLISHED GUIDELINES FOR REVERSAL OF WARFARIN ANTICOAGULATION IN PATIENTS WITH
INTRACEREBRAL HEMORRHAGE
Society (Year)

Vitamin K

Plasma (mL/kg)

Australian (2004)
EU Stroke (2006)
ACCP (2012)
AHA (2010)
French (2010)
British Standards (2011)

IV (5-10 mg)
IV (5-10 mg)
IV (5-10 mg)
IV (NS)
Oral or IV (10 mg)
IV (5 mg)

Yes (NS)
Yes (10-40)
No (NS)
Yes (10-15)
Yes (NS)‡
No

AND
OR
OR
OR
OR

PCC (units/kg)

rfVII

Yes (NS)*
Yes (10-50)
Preferred (NS)
Yes (NS)
Preferred (25-50)
Yes (NS)

NS
NS
Yes†
No
No
No

ACCP, American College of Chest Physicians; AHA, American Heart Association; EU, European Union; IV, intravenous; NS, not specified; PCC, prothrombin
complex concentrate; rfVIIa, recombinant human activated factor VII.
*If a three-factor PCC is administered, fresh frozen plasma is also recommended as a source of factor VII.
†Use of PCCs or rfVIIa may vary depending on availability.
‡Use of plasma only when PCCs not available.

treatment strategies including fresh frozen plasma and
rfVIIa, evaluating effect on patient outcomes.”179 Normalization of the INR is just a surrogate end point.180
The role of PCC therapy relative to plasma therapy is
in evolution, in part related to the following: the variability in PCC contents and clotting factor levels165,181;
their regulatory approval status in different countries;
their uncertain availability among hospital formularies,
particularly in community hospitals; and their potential
risks of thrombogenicity.
Product information for activated PCCs such as FEIBA
VH Immuno and Autoplex-T (Baxter, Deerfield, Ill.)
states, under warnings, that these agents “must be used
only for patients with circulating inhibitors to one or
more coagulation factors and should not be used for the
treatment of bleeding episodes resulting from coagulation factor deficiencies.”182,183 Additionally, the presence
of DIC is a stated contraindication to PCC use in the
package inserts.
The safety of PCCs in the setting of emergency reversal of warfarin anticoagulation remains a subject of
debate. One prospective study of 173 patients treated
with PCC found that 4.6% of patients had a thrombotic
event, but the investigators attributed these adverse
events to cessation of anticoagulant therapy for underlying and ongoing risks of thrombosis.184 A study in a
pig model of coagulopathy with blunt liver injury found
that although 35 International Units/kg PCC improved
coagulation and attenuated blood loss, increased doses
(50 International Units/kg) of PCC therapy appeared
to increase the risk of thromboembolism and DIC.185
Thrombogenicity has been a recognized problem for
patients,186,187 in part related to the presence of activated clotting factors (for which heparin and antithrombin III have been added to some preparations) and in
part because of the presence of other preexisting thromboembolic risk factors that resulted in initiation of warfarin therapy in these patients (e.g., venous thrombosis,
atrial fibrillation) or new, concurrent risk factors (e.g.,
trauma, head injury).
We previously reported a patient who was initially successfully treated with rfVIIa for refractory, massive hemorrhage while on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
(ECMO) after cardiothoracic surgery but who suffered
massive thrombosis after subsequently receiving an activated PCC.126 Another case of fatal intracardiac thrombosis

following rapid administration of activated PCC for urgent
warfarin coagulation reversal was also reported.188 The
reported incidence of thromboembolic events published
between 1998 and 2008 ranged from 0% to 7% (overall
weighted mean, 2.3%), with higher and repeated dosing
potentially associated with higher risk.179 Multinational trials of patients receiving a four-factor PCC product at various infusion speeds for urgent vitamin K antagonist reversal
supported the safety and efficacy of rapid infusion of PCC
in these patients.189,190 However, the recommendation that
“whenever possible, patients receiving PCCs should be
under low dose heparin prophylaxis”181 underscores that
the use of PCCs in this setting is accompanied by risks of
thrombosis. One review of eight clinical studies identified
a thromboembolic event rate of 0.9% associated with PCC
therapy.191 Studies of optimal dosing strategies for PCC,
including fixed versus variable (weight-based) dosage, provide a basis for future research.192
As pooled blood product derivatives, PCCs also have
potential risks of transmitting infectious agents.193
Various processing methods such as nanofiltration,
solvent detergent treatment, and vapor heating have
been used to inactivate pathogens in commercially
available PCCs and pooled plasma products.194 The cost
effectiveness of such products with pathogen reduction
technology is an area of current debate.195,196 Potential
risks and limitations of PCC therapy compared with
plasma therapy are summarized in Table 63-6.

INDICATIONS FOR PLATELET TRANSFUSION
The Joint Commission developed a performance indicator
for prophylactic platelet transfusions in patients with
malignant hematologic diseases or in patients who
undergo stem cell transplantation, in which a platelet
count threshold of 10,000/mm3 is appropriate for
prophylactic platelet transfusions.197
Current guidelines from the European Union and
United States recommend a transfusion trigger of 10 ×
109/L for platelets transfused prophylactically.158,198 These
guidelines are based on outcomes from four randomized
clinical trials that compared prophylactic triggers of 10 ×
109/L versus 20 × 109/L in patients with acute leukemia
and in autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell
transplant recipients.197,199-202 Two additional prospective
studies also demonstrated safety with the lower threshold


1894

PART IV: Anesthesia Management

of 10 × 109/L for prophylactic platelet transfusions.203,204
The impact of these thresholds on numbers of platelet and
blood transfusions is variable; however, one study demonstrated a 36% and 16% reduction in platelet and blood
transfusions, respectively,204 whereas another showed no
differences.203
Another trial demonstrated that “low-dose” prophylactic platelet transfusions are as effective as “standarddose” or “high-dose” transfusions.205 For therapeutic
platelet transfusions, algorithms based on point-of-care
testing have demonstrated promise in patients who have

TABLE 63-6  POTENTIAL RISKS AND LIMITATIONS
OF PLASMA AND PROTHROMBIN COMPLEX
CONCENTRATE THERAPY
Product

Risks and Limitations

I.Single-donor
plasma

.Longer time to administer
1
2.Volume constraints
3.Transmissible disease, known/unknown
4.Allergic reactions
5.Transfusion-related acute lung injury
(TRALI)
1.Limited availability
2.Some preparations lack factor VII
3.Donor pools: 3,000 to 20,000
4.Transmissible disease, known or
unknown (for nonenveloped pathogens)
5.Thrombogenicity

II.Prothrombin
complex
concentrates

From Goodnough LT: A reappraisal of plasma, prothrombin complex concentrates, and recombinant factor VIIa in patient blood management, Crit
Care Clin 28:413, 2012 with permission.

platelet-derived bleeding, such as in cardiothoracic surgery13,206 and in trauma.207 As for the evidence-based literature for plasma therapy, additional studies in platelet
transfusion are needed (see also Chapter 61).208

BLOODLESS MEDICINE
Some patients object to receiving blood or blood
products as part of their medical treatment. Many of
these individuals are Jehovah’s Witnesses and refuse the
transfusion of another person’s blood based on strict
interpretations of both Old and New Testament texts
that refer to the sanctity of blood.209 This religious group
currently has more than 6 million active and 14 million
associated followers worldwide, and its publications are
translated into more than 200 different languages. In
the 1980s, bloodless medicine programs were started at
the request of Jehovah’s Witness patients who wanted
hospitals where they could receive the best medical
care and have their desire to avoid allogeneic blood
transfusions respected.209
Many people in the United States, regardless of their
religious background, have voiced concern about the
safety of blood transfusions. A telephone survey found
that only 61% of the respondents believed the blood supply
in the United States to be safe, and 33% said that they
would refuse blood transfusions if hospitalized.22 Since
2000, public concerns about problems with the blood
supply and shortages in the availability of volunteer blood
donors have also led to the development of bloodless
medicine centers.

Patient Blood Management

POSTOPERATIVE

INTRAOPERATIVE

PREOPERATIVE

Optimize erythropoiesis
• Identify, evaluate, and treat
underlying anemia
• Preoperative autologous
blood donation
• Consider erythropoiesis-stimulating
agents (ESA) if nutritional anemias
ruled out/treated
• Refer for further evaluation
if necessary
• Time surgery with optimization of
erythrocyte mass (note: unmanaged
anemia is a contraindication
for elective surgery)

• Manage nutritional/correctable
anemia (e.g., avoid folate deficiency,
iron-restricted erythropoiesis)
• ESA therapy if appropriate
• Be aware of drug interactions
that can cause anemia (e.g., ACE
inhibitor)

Minimize blood loss

Manage anemia

• Identify and manage bleeding risk
(past/family history)
• Review medications (antiplatelet, anticoagulation therapy)
• Minimize iatrogenic blood loss
• Procedure planning and rehearsal

• Compare estimated blood loss with
patient specific tolerable blood loss
• Assess/optimize patient’s physiologic
reserve (e.g., pulmonary and cardiac
function)
• Formulate patient-specific management
plan using appropriate blood conservation
modalities to manage anemia

• Meticulous hemostasis and surgical
techniques
• Blood-sparing surgical techniques
• Anesthetic blood conserving strategies
• Acute normovolemic hemodilution
• Cell salvage/reinfusion
• Pharmacologic/hemostatic agents

• Optimize cardiac output
• Optimize ventilation and oxygenation
• Evidence-based transfusion strategies

• Monitor and manage bleeding
• Maintain normothermia (unless hypothermia
indicated)
• Autologous blood salvage
• Minimize iatrogenic blood loss
• Hemostasis/anticoagulation management
• Be aware of adverse effects of medications
(e.g., acquired vitamin K deficiency)

• Maximize oxygen delivery
• Minimize oxygen consumption
• Avoid/treat infections promptly
• Evidence-based transfusion strategies

Figure 63-2.  Patient blood management. These principles applied in the perisurgical period enable treating physicians to have the time and
tools to provide patient-centered evidenced-based patient blood mangement to minimize allogeneic blood transfusions. (From Goodnough LT,
Shander A: Patient blood management, Anesthesiology 116:1367-1376, 2012.)


Chapter 63: Patient Blood Management

Bloodless medicine and surgery are defined as a
team approach “that reduces blood loss and uses the
best available alternatives to allogeneic transfusion therapy while focusing on the provision of the best possible medical care to all patients.”16 The objectives of a
bloodless medicine program should include “providing
leadership within an institution for bloodless medicine
and being the advocate for patients not accepting transfusion.”210 All clinicians should realize that a philosophy
of blood management that incorporates avoidance of
unnecessary blood transfusions in all patients is appropriate even if a bloodless medicine center does not
exist at their institutions.16 The principles of patient
blood management can serve to achieve a goal of
minimizing allogeneic blood transfusions, not only
for Jehovah’s Witness patients, but also for all patients
(Fig. 63-2).6

CONCLUSION
Blood transfusions carry risks, they are costly, and the
supply of blood is limited (see also Chapter 61). Blood
transfusion outcomes are therefore undergoing renewed
scrutiny by health care institutions to reduce blood use.
In addition to accreditation organizations, professional
societies are also well positioned to incorporate blood
transfusion outcomes as quality indicators in their own
guidelines and recommendations.211
The foundations of patient blood management in
the perisurgical period are illustrated in Figure 63-2: (1)
optimize erythropoiesis, (2) minimize blood loss, and
(3) manage anemia. Strategies begin with preoperative
preadmission testing and extend throughout the intraoperative and postoperative intervals, thus enabling
treating physicians to minimize allogeneic blood transfusions while delivering safe and effective health care.
Physicians and hospital quality or clinical effectiveness departments should incorporate the principles of
patient blood management into hospital-based process
improvement initiatives that enhance patient safety and
clinical outcomes.
Complete references available online at expertconsult.com

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145.Murad MH, Stubbs JR, Gandhi MJ, et al: The effect of plasma
transfusion on morbidity and mortality: a systematic review and
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146.Roback JD, Caldwell S, Carson J, et al: Evidence-based practice
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147.Holland LL, Brooks JP: Toward rational fresh frozen plasma
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disease: evidence and clinical consequences, Blood 116:878-885,
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149.Ewe K: Bleeding after liver biopsy does not correlate with indices
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150.Tripodi A, Caldwell SH, Hoffman M, et al: Review article: the prothrombin time test as a measure of bleeding risk and prognosis in
liver disease, Aliment Pharmacol Ther 26:141-148, 2007.
151.Boks AL, Brommer EJ, Schalm SW, Van Vliet HH: Hemostasis and
fibrinolysis in severe liver failure and their relation to hemorrhage, Hepatology 6:79-86, 1986.
152.Tripodi A, Primignani M, Chantarangkul V, et al: Thrombin generation in patients with cirrhosis: the role of platelets, Hepatology
44:440-445, 2006.
153.Tripodi A, Primignani M, Lemma L, et al: Detection of the imbalance of procoagulant versus anticoagulant factors in cirrhosis by a
simple laboratory method, Hepatology 52:249-255, 2010.
154.Segal JB, Dzik WH: Paucity of studies to support that abnormal
coagulation test results predict bleeding in the setting of invasive
procedures: an evidence-based review, Transfusion 45:1413-1425,
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155.Youssef WI, Salazar F, Dasarathy S, et al: Role of fresh frozen
plasma infusion in correction of coagulopathy of chronic liver
disease: a dual phase study, Am J Gastroenterol 98:1391-1394, 2003.
156.Sharara AI, Rockey DC: Gastroesophageal variceal hemorrhage,
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157.Tripodi A, Mannucci PM: The coagulopathy of chronic liver disease, N Engl J Med 365:147-156, 2011.
158.Guidelines for the use of platelet transfusions, Br J Haematol
122:10-23, 2003.
159.Goodnough LT, Hill CC: Use of point-of-care testing for plasma
therapy, Transfusion 52(Suppl 1):56S-64S, 2012.
160.Li G, Rachmale S, Kojicic M, et al: Incidence and transfusion risk
factors for transfusion-associated circulatory overload among
medical intensive care unit patients, Transfusion 51:338-343,
2011.
161.Rana R, Fernandez-Perez ER, Khan SA, et al: Transfusion-related
acute lung injury and pulmonary edema in critically ill patients: a
retrospective study, Transfusion 46:1478-1483, 2006.
162.Narick C, Triulzi DJ, Yazer MH: Transfusion-associated circulatory
overload after plasma transfusion, Transfusion 52:160-165, 2012.
163.Shaz BH, Stowell SR, Hillyer CD: Transfusion-related acute lung
injury: from bedside to bench and back, Blood 117:1463-1471,
2011.
164.Lin Y, Saw CL, Hannach B, Goldman M: Transfusion-related acute
lung injury prevention measures and their impact at Canadian
Blood Services, Transfusion 52:567-574, 2012.
165.Holland L, Warkentin TE, Refaai M, et al: Suboptimal effect of a
three-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (Profilnine-SD) in
correcting supratherapeutic international normalized ratio due to
warfarin overdose, Transfusion 49:1171-1177, 2009.
166.Pabinger I, Brenner B, Kalina U, et al: Prothrombin complex concentrate (Beriplex P/N) for emergency anticoagulation reversal:
a prospective multinational clinical trial, J Thromb Haemost 6:
622-631, 2008.
167.Sarode R, Milling TJ Jr, Refaai MA, et al: Efficacy and safety of a
4-factor prothrombin complex concentrate in patients on vitamin K antagonists presenting with major bleeding: a randomized,
plasma-controlled, phase IIIb study, Circulation 128(11):1234-1243,
2013.

168.Lorenz R, Kienast J, Otto U, et al: Successful emergency reversal
of phenprocoumon anticoagulation with prothrombin complex
concentrate: a prospective clinical study, Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis
18:565-570, 2007.
169.Spyropoulos AC, Douketis JD: How I treat anticoagulated patients
undergoing an elective procedure or surgery, Blood 120(15):
2954-2962, 2012.
170.Imberti D, Barillari G, Biasioli C, et al: Emergency reversal of anticoagulation with a three-factor prothrombin complex concentrate in patients with intracranial haemorrhage, Blood Transfus
9:148-155, 2011.
171.Goodnough LT: A reappraisal of plasma, prothrombin complex
concentrates, and recombinant factor VIIa in patient blood management, Crit Care Clin 28:413-426, 2012.
172.Baker RI, Coughlin PB, Gallus AS, et al: Warfarin reversal: consensus guidelines, on behalf of the Australasian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Med J Aust 181:492-497, 2004.
173.Steiner T, Kaste M, Forsting M, et al: Recommendations for the
management of intracranial haemorrhage. Part I: spontaneous
intracerebral haemorrhage. The European Stroke Initiative Writing Committee and the Writing Committee for the EUSI Executive Committee, Cerebrovasc Dis 22:294-316, 2006.
174.Guyatt GH, Akl EA, Crowther M, et al: Executive summary: Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: Am
College Chest Phys Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines,
Chest 141:7S-47S, 2012.
175.Morgenstern LB, Hemphill JC 3rd, Anderson C, et al: Guidelines for
the management of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Stroke 41:2108-2129, 2010.
176.Pernod G, Godier A, Gozalo C, et al: French clinical practice
guidelines on the management of patients on vitamin K antagonists in at-risk situations (overdose, risk of bleeding, and active
bleeding), Thromb Res 126:e167-e174, 2010.
177.Baglin TP, Keeling DM, Watson HG: Guidelines on oral anticoagulation (warfarin): third edition—2005 update, Br J Haematol
132:277-285, 2006.
178.Beshay JE, Morgan H, Madden C, et al: Emergency reversal of anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapies in neurosurgical patients, J
Neurosurg 112:307-318, 2010.
179.Bershad EM, Suarez JI: Prothrombin complex concentrates for
oral anticoagulant therapy-related intracranial hemorrhage: a
review of the literature, Neurocrit Care 12:403-413, 2010.
180.Marietta M, Pedrazzi P, Luppi M: Three- or four-factor prothrombin complex concentrate for emergency anticoagulation reversal:
what are we really looking for? Blood Transfus 9:469, 2011.
181.Hellstern P: Production and composition of prothrombin complex concentrates: correlation between composition and therapeutic efficiency, Thromb Res 95:S7-12, 1999.
182.Warkentin TE, Crowther MA: Reversing anticoagulants both old
and new, Can J Anaesth 49:S11-S25, 2002.
183.U.S. Food and Drug Administration: FEIBA NF (anti-inhibitor coagulant complex). BloodProducts/ApprovedProducts/LicensedProductsBLAs/Fraction
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184.Bobbitt L, Merriman E, Raynes J, et al: PROTHROMBINEX(®)-VF
(PTX-VF) usage for reversal of coagulopathy: prospective evaluation of thrombogenic risk, Thromb Res 128:577-582, 2011.
185.Grottke O, Braunschweig T, Spronk HM, et al: Increasing concentrations of prothrombin complex concentrate induce disseminated intravascular coagulation in a pig model of coagulopathy
with blunt liver injury, Blood 118:1943-1951, 2011.
186.Lusher JM: Thrombogenicity associated with factor IX complex
concentrates, Semin Hematol 28:3-5, 1991.
187.Kohler M: Thrombogenicity of prothrombin complex concentrates, Thromb Res 95:S13-S17, 1999.
188.Warren O, Simon B: Massive, fatal, intracardiac thrombosis associated with prothrombin complex concentrate, Ann Emerg Med
53:758-761, 2009.
189.Riess HB, Meier-Hellmann A, Motsch J, et al: Prothrombin complex concentrate (Octaplex) in patients requiring immediate
reversal of oral anticoagulation, Thromb Res 121:9-16, 2007.
190.Pabinger I, Tiede A, Kalina U, et al: Impact of infusion speed on
the safety and effectiveness of prothrombin complex concentrate:
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192.Khorsand N, Veeger NJ, Muller M, et al: Fixed versus variable dose
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194.Heger A, Svae TE, Neisser-Svae A, et al: Biochemical quality of the
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196.Toner RW, Pizzi L, Leas B, et al: Costs to hospitals of acquiring
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201.Zumberg MS, del Rosario ML, Nejame CF, et al: A prospective
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Chapter 64

Anesthesia and Treatment
of Chronic Pain
CHRISTOPH STEIN  •  ANDREAS KOPF

Key Points
•The normal physiology of neuronal function, receptors, and ion channels, is
altered by persistent pain.
•Because of the large number of sources and manifestation of chronic pain,
classification must include cancer-related, neuropathic, inflammatory, arthritis,
and musculoskeletal pain.
•Interdisciplinary management of chronic pain must include specialists
in psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, neurology, and
anesthesiology.
•Drugs used for chronic pain are multiple and include opioids, nonsteroidal
antiinflammatory drugs and antipyretic analgesics, serotonin receptor
ligands, antiepileptics, antidepressants, topical analgesics (e.g., nonsteroidal
antiinflammatory drugs, capsaicin, local anesthetics, opioids), and adjuvants
such as local anesthetics, α2-agonists, baclofen, botulinum toxin, antiemetics,
laxatives, novel drugs such as cannabinoids, and ion channel blockers.
•Interventional management of chronic pain includes the use of diagnostic
blocks, therapeutic blocks, continuous catheter techniques (peripheral, epidural,
intrathecal), and stimulation techniques such as acupuncture, transcutaneous
electrical nerve stimulation, and spinal cord stimulation.
•Perioperative management of patients with chronic pain involves the following:
the use of opioid and nonopioid analgesics; evaluation for dependence, addiction,
and pseudoaddiction; and practical considerations.

PHYSIOLOGIC CHANGES IN PERSISTENT
PAIN
EXCITATORY MECHANISMS
Pain may be roughly divided into two broad categories:
physiologic and pathologic pain. Physiologic (acute,
nociceptive) pain is an essential early warning sign that
usually elicits reflex withdrawal and thereby promotes
survival by protecting the organism from further injury.
In contrast, pathologic (e.g., neuropathic) pain is an
expression of the maladaptive operation of the nervous
system; it is pain as a disease.1 Physiologic pain is mediated by a sensory system consisting of primary afferent
neurons, spinal interneurons and ascending tracts, and
several supraspinal areas. Trigeminal and dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) give rise to high-threshold Aδ and C fibers
innervating peripheral tissues (skin, muscles, joints, viscera). These specialized primary afferent neurons, also
called nociceptors, transduce noxious stimuli into action
potentials and conduct them to the dorsal horn of the spinal cord (Fig. 64-1). When peripheral tissue is damaged,

1898

primary afferent neurons are sensitized or directly activated, or both, by a variety of thermal, mechanical, and/
or chemical stimuli. Examples are protons, sympathetic
amines, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), glutamate, neuropeptides (calcitonin gene–related peptide, substance
P), nerve growth factor, prostanoids, bradykinin, proinflammatory cytokines, and chemokines.2,3 Many of
these agents lead to opening (gating) of cation channels
in the neuronal membrane. Such channels include the
capsaicin-, proton-, and heat-sensitive transient receptor
potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), or the ATP-gated purinergic P2X3 receptor. Gating produces an inward current of
sodium (Na+) and calcium (Ca2+) ions into the peripheral nociceptor terminal. If this depolarizing current is
sufficient to activate voltage-gated Na+ channels (e.g.,
Nav1.8), they too will open, further depolarizing the
membrane and initiating a burst of action potentials that
are then conducted along the sensory axon to the dorsal
horn of the spinal cord.3,4 Thereafter, these impulses are
transmitted to spinal neurons, brainstem, thalamus, and
cortex.5,6


Chapter 64: Anesthesia and Treatment of Chronic Pain

Anterior cingulate cortex,
insula, prefrontal cortex

1899

Somatosensory
cortex SI, SII

Medial thalamus
Lateral thalamus

Peripheral tissue

Medial

Spinothalamic
Lateral tract

C fiber
A fiber

Sympathetic
axon

Motor axon

Transmission of input from nociceptors to spinal
neurons that project to the brain is mediated by direct
monosynaptic contact or through multiple excitatory
or inhibitory interneurons. The central terminals of
nociceptors contain excitatory transmitters such as
glutamate, substance P, and neurotrophic factors that
activate postsynaptic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA),
neurokinin (NK1), and tyrosine kinase receptors, respectively. Repeated nociceptor stimulation can sensitize
both peripheral and central neurons (activity-dependent
plasticity). In spinal neurons, such a progressive
increase of output in response to persistent nociceptor
excitation has been termed wind-up. Later, sensitization can be sustained by transcriptional changes in the
expression of genes coding for various neuropeptides,
transmitters, ion channels, receptors, and signaling
molecules (transcription-dependent plasticity) in both
nociceptors and spinal neurons. Important examples
include the NMDA receptor, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2),
Ca2+ and Na+ channels, cytokines, and chemokines
expressed by neurons and/or glial cells.7,8 In addition,
physical rearrangement of neuronal circuits by apoptosis, nerve growth, and sprouting occurs in the peripheral and central nervous systems.1,5

Figure 64-1.  Nociceptive pathways. For details see
text. (Modified from Brack A, Stein C, Schaible HG:
Periphere und zentrale Mechanismen des Entzündungsschmerzes. In Straub RH, editor: Lehrbuch der klinischen
Pathophysiologie komplexer chronischer Erkrankungen,
vol 1, Göttingen, Germany, 2006, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp 183-192.)

INHIBITORY MECHANISMS
Concurrent with the events just described, powerful
endogenous mechanisms counteracting pain unfold
both in the periphery and in the central nervous system.
In injured tissue, this process results from interactions
between leukocyte-derived opioid peptides and peripheral
nociceptor terminals carrying opioid receptors9,10 and/or
by antiinflammatory cytokines.2 Inflammation of peripheral tissue leads to increased expression, axonal transport,
and enhanced G-protein coupling of opioid receptors in
DRG neurons as well as enhanced permeability of the
perineurium. These phenomena depend on sensory neuron electrical activity, the production of proinflammatory
cytokines, and the presence of nerve growth factor within
the inflamed tissue. In parallel, opioid peptide–containing
immune cells extravasate and accumulate in the inflamed
tissue.10 These cells up-regulate the gene expression
of opioid precursors and the enzymatic machinery for
their processing into functionally active peptides.11,12 In
response to stress, catecholamines, corticotropin-releasing factor, cytokines, chemokines, or bacteria, leukocytes
secrete opioids. The latter activate peripheral opioid receptors and produce analgesia by inhibiting the excitability


1900

PART V: Adult Subspecialty Management
Dorsal root
ganglion
CRF
CRFR
Opioid
peptide

OR cDNA
OR mRNA
OR

IL-1R
IL-1

Chemokines

Peripheral
sensory
neuron

sP

Axon

Spinal
cord

Microtubule
Perineurium

TRPV1 channel
Opioid receptor
Gi/o

cAMP
Ca++ channel

EO
OP

NA
AR

Figure 64-2.  Endogenous antinociceptive mechanisms within peripheral injured tissue. Opioid peptide-containing circulating leukocytes
extravasate upon activation of adhesion molecules and chemotaxis by chemokines. Subsequently, these leukocytes are stimulated by stress or
releasing agents to secrete opioid peptides. For example, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), interleukin-1β (IL-1) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline [NA], released from postganglionic sympathetic neurons) can elicit opioid release by activating their respective CRF receptors (CRFR),
IL-1 receptors (IL-1R), and adrenergic receptors (AR) on leukocytes. Exogenous opioids (EO) or endogenous opioid peptides (OP, green triangles)
bind to opioid receptors (OR) that are synthesized in dorsal root ganglia and are transported along intraaxonal microtubules to peripheral (and
central) terminals of sensory neurons. The subsequent inhibition of ion channels (e.g., TRPV1, Ca2+) (see Fig. 64-3 and text) and of substance P
(sP) release results in antinociceptive effects. cAMP, Cyclic adenosine monophosphate. (Modified from Stein C, Machelska H: Modulation of peripheral
sensory neurons by the immune system: implications for pain therapy, Pharmacol Rev 63:860-881, 2011.)

of nociceptors, the release of excitatory neuropeptides,
or both10,13 (Fig. 64-2). The clinical relevance of these
mechanisms was shown in studies demonstrating that
patients with knee joint inflammation expressed opioid
peptides in immune cells and opioid receptors on sensory
nerve terminals within synovial tissue.14 After knee surgery, pain and analgesic consumption were enhanced by
blocking the interaction between the endogenous opioids
and their receptors with intraarticular naloxone15 and
diminished by stimulating opioid secretion.16
In the spinal cord, inhibition is mediated by the
release of opioids, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), or glycine
from interneurons, which activate presynaptic opioid or
GABA receptors, or both, on central nociceptor terminals
to reduce excitatory transmitter release. In addition, the
opening of postsynaptic potassium (K+) or chloride (Cl−)
channels by opioids or GABA, respectively, evokes hyperpolarizing inhibitory potentials in dorsal horn neurons.
During ongoing nociceptive stimulation, spinal interneurons up-regulate gene expression and the production
of opioid peptides.17,18 Powerful descending inhibitory

pathways from the brainstem also become active by
operating mostly through noradrenergic, serotonergic,
and opioid systems. A key region is the periaqueductal
gray, which projects to the rostral ventromedial medulla,
which then projects along the dorsolateral funiculus to
the dorsal horn.19 The integration of signals from excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters with cognitive,
emotional, and environmental factors (see later) eventually results in the central perception of pain. When the
intricate balance of biologic, psychological, and social
factors becomes disturbed, chronic pain can develop.

TRANSLATION OF BASIC RESEARCH
Basic research on pain continues at a rapid pace, but
translation into clinical applications has been difficult.20
Animal studies are indispensable. However, for ethical reasons these studies are restricted to days or weeks,
whereas human chronic pain can last for months or years.
Therefore, animal models do not mirror the truly chronic
clinical situation and should be more cautiously termed


Chapter 64: Anesthesia and Treatment of Chronic Pain

reflections of persistent pain.21,22 Brain imaging is an area
of intense research, and numerous studies have investigated changes in patients with various pain syndromes.
However, such studies have not yet provided reproducible
findings specific for a disease or a pathophysiologic basis
for individual syndromes.21 Neuroimaging can detect
only alterations associated with nociceptive processes,
whereas clinical pain encompasses a much more complex
subjective experience that critically relies on self-evaluation. Thus, imaging cannot provide an objective proxy,
biomarker, or predictor for pain23 (see also the next section). Similarly, although basic research has produced
some evidence for genetic control of pain, such findings
are not expected to serve as a guide to individualized (personalized) clinical pain therapy any time soon.21,24

CLINICAL DEFINITIONS, PREVALENCE,
AND CLASSIFICATION OF CHRONIC PAIN
DEFINITIONS
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)
defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional
experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”25,26 This classification further states that pain is always subjective and
that it is a sensation in parts of the body. At the same time,
pain is unpleasant and therefore also has an emotional
component. Aside from malignant disease, many people
report pain in the absence of tissue damage or any likely
pathophysiologic cause. Usually, no way exists to distinguish their experience from a condition resulting from
tissue damage. If patients regard their experience as pain
or if they report it in the same ways as pain caused by tissue damage, it should be accepted as pain. This definition
avoids tying pain to a stimulus. Nociception is neurophysiologic activity in peripheral sensory neurons (nociceptors)
and higher nociceptive pathways and is defined by the
IASP as the “neural process of encoding noxious stimuli.”
Nociception is not synonymous with pain. Pain is always
a psychological state, even though it often has a proximate physical cause. Chronic pain is defined by the American Society of Anesthesiologists as “extending in duration
beyond the expected temporal boundary of tissue injury
and normal healing, and adversely affecting the function
or well-being of the individual.”27 The IASP subcommittee
on taxonomy defined it in 1986 as “pain without apparent biological value that has persisted beyond the normal
tissue healing time usually taken to be three months.” The
presence or extent of chronic pain often does not correlate
with the documented tissue disorder.

PREVALENCE
Beyond these general definitions, no common understanding exists about the characteristics of the patient
with chronic pain. This may be one reason that estimates
of pain prevalence differ greatly from one publication to
another. Heterogeneous populations, the occurrence of
undetected comorbidity, different definitions of chronic
pain, and different approaches to data collection have

1901

resulted in estimates of 20% to 60%. Some surveys indicate a more frequent prevalence among women and older
adults. Chronic pain has enormous socioeconomic costs.
In the United States alone, annual expenditures amount
to more than $600 billion for health care, disability compensation, lost work days, and related expenses. Similar
figures have been reported by other countries.28,29

CLASSIFICATION
Traditionally, a distinction is made between malignant
(related to cancer and its treatment) and nonmalignant (e.g.,
neuropathic, musculoskeletal, inflammatory) chronic pain.
To separate somatic and psychological mechanisms is probably not warranted. Patients with cancer tend to have more
serious health restrictions than do patients with chronic
nonmalignant pain. Patients with nonmalignant pain may
report higher pain scores and expect more pain relief than
do patients with cancer.30 Nonmalignant chronic pain is
frequently classified into inflammatory pain (e.g., arthritic),
musculoskeletal pain (e.g., low back pain), headaches, and
neuropathic pain (e.g., postherpetic neuralgia, phantom
pain, complex regional pain syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, human immunodeficiency virus–associated neuropathy). Frequent symptoms of neuropathic pain include the
following: spontaneous lancinating, shooting, or burning
pain; hyperalgesia; and allodynia; or any combination of
such pain.31 Cancer pain can originate from invasion of
the tumor into tissues innervated by primary afferent neurons (e.g., pleura, peritoneum) or directly into a peripheral
nerve plexus. In the latter situation, neuropathic symptoms
may be predominant. A problem in the treatment of cancer
pain is the lack of correlation between the patient’s selfreporting and the assessment of clinical staff. Pain may be
underestimated by medical staff and family members, thus
resulting in poor pain control.29 Many treatments for cancer are associated with severe pain. For example, cytoreductive radiation therapy or chemotherapy frequently causes
painful oral mucositis, especially in patients undergoing
bone marrow transplantation.32

BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL CONCEPT
OF CHRONIC PAIN
Patients with chronic pain who have cancer or nonmalignant diseases have in common the complex influences
of biologic (tissue damage), cognitive (memory, expectations), emotional (anxiety, depression), and environmental factors (reinforcement, conditioning). Many patients
present with limited mobility, lack of motivation, depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of reinjury, all of which
hamper the return to normal work or recreational activities. Such patients may become preoccupied with pain
and somatic processes, which may disrupt sleep, cause
irritability, and social withdrawal. Other cognitive factors
such as patients’ expectations or beliefs (e.g., perceived
inability to control the pain) influence psychosocial and
physical functioning. Pain behavior such as limping,
medication intake, or avoidance of activity is subject to
operant conditioning; that is, it responds to reward and
punishment. For example, pain behavior may be positively reinforced by attention from a spouse or health


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