Background: Liver resection remains major surgery frequently requiring intra-operative blood transfusion. Patients are typically over cross-matched, and with blood donor numbers falling, cross-matching and transfusion policies need rationalizing.
Aim: To identify predictors of peri-operative blood transfusion.
Methods: A retrospective review of elective hepatic resections over a 4-year period was performed. Twenty-six variables including clinicopathological variables and intra-operative data were collated, together with the number of units of blood cross-matched and transfused in the immediate peri-operative period (48 h). Multivariate regression analysis was performed to identify independent predictors of blood transfusion, and a Risk Score for transfusion constructed.
Results: Five hundred and eighty-nine patients were included in the study, and were cross-matched with a median 10 units of blood. Seventeen per cent of patients received a blood transfusion; median transfusion when required was 2 units. Regression analysis identified seven factors predictive of transfusion: haemoglobin <12.5 g/dL, pre-operative biliary drainage, coronary artery disease, largest tumour >3.5 cm, cholangiocarcinoma, redo resection and extended resection (5+ segments). Patients were stratified into high or low risk of transfusion based on Risk Score with a sensitivity of 73% [receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) 0.77].
Conclusions: Patients undergoing elective liver resection are over-cross-matched. Patients can be classified into high and low risk of transfusion using a Risk Score, and cross-matched accordingly.