Worldwide Reports

Maintenance of normal hematocrit in high-risk thyroid surgery without allogeneic blood transfusion

Nathaniel Usoro, MD |
University of Calabar Teaching Hospital
Calabar, Nigeria


Bloodless surgery was introduced initially for the care of patients who refused blood transfusion. Recently however, adverse outcome with blood transfusion has been reported in virtually all subspecialties of surgery and conversely, improved outcome with non-transfusion surgery. Thus blood conservation is the standard of care because it is evidence-based. Thyroid surgery is historically associated with blood loss, and a lower hemato- crit would be expected postoperatively. We report a case of subtotal thyroidectomy for a large simple multinodular goiter using planned blood-conservation techniques tailored to the patient that resulted in maintenance of a normal hematocrit throughout the perioperative period. The patient received oral hematinics preoperatively, while acute normo- volemic hemodilution and other techniques were used to minimize intraoperative blood loss. The outcome was an optimized hematocrit preoperatively, minimal blood loss intraoperatively, and hematocrit which remained optimal on the third postoperative day and 3 weeks postoperatively. No allogeneic blood was used at any stage. This suggests that maintenance of normal hematocrit can be regarded as an achievable goal in high-risk surgery through blood-conservation techniques. Avoid- ing allogeneic blood transfusion is possible in a resource-poor setting, where HIV prevalence is high and screening of blood may be suboptimal, and it is the ideal clinical approach as demonstrated in this case report.

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