Blood Transfusion - 1 2014 (January - March)
Cost of post-operative intravenous iron therapy in total lower limb arthroplasty: a retrospective, matched cohort study
Authors:  Manuel Muñoz, Susana Gómez-Ramírez, Elisa Martín-Montañez, Enrique Naveira, Javier Seara, José Pavía
Pages:  40-49
To cite this article:  Blood Transfus 2014; 12: 40-9
Doi:  10.2450/2013.0088-13
Published online:  03/10/2013


Background. Requirements for allogeneic red cell transfusion after total lower limb arthroplasty are still high (20-50%), and post-operative intravenous iron has been shown to reduce transfusion requirements for this surgery. We performed a cost analysis to ascertain whether this alternative is also likely to be cost-effective.

Materials and methods. Data from 182 matched-pairs of total lower limb arthroplasty patients, managed with a restrictive transfusion protocol and without (control group) or with post-operative intravenous iron (iron group), were retrospectively reviewed. Acquisition and administration costs of iron (iron sucrose or ferric carboxymaltose) and allogeneic red cell concentrates, haemoglobin measurements, and prolonged stay in hospital were used for blood management cost analysis.
Results. Patients in the iron group received 600 mg intravenous iron, without clinically relevant incidents, and had a lower allogeneic transfusion rate (11.5% vs 26.4% for the iron and control groups, respectively; p=0.001). The reduction in transfusion rate was more pronounced in anaemic patients (17% vs 40%; p=0.015) than in non-anaemic ones (9.6% vs 21.2%; p=0.011). There were no differences with respect to post-operative infection rate. Patients receiving allogeneic transfusion stayed in hospital longer (+1.9 days [95% CI: 1.2-2.6]). As intravenous iron reduces the allogeneic transfusion rate, both iron formulations were cost-neutral in the different cost scenarios (−25.5 to 62.1 €/patient for iron sucrose, and −51.1 to 64.4 €/patient for ferric carboxymaltose).
Discussion. In patients presenting with or without pre-operative anaemia, post-operative intravenous iron after total lower limb arthroplasty seems to be safe and is associated with reduced transfusion rates, without incremental costs. For anaemic patients, its efficacy could be increased by associating some other blood-saving method.Keywords: allogeneic red cell transfusion, post-operative intravenous iron, length of hospital stay, cost-effectiveness, lower limb arthroplasty.
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